Gerry Perry: Hunting benefits Arizona
Arizona Daily Star
December 23, 2013
By Gerry Perry, Special to the Arizona Daily Star
During our end-of-year holidays, many choose to consume beasts and fowl harvested by hunting. Much of the reason for this is contained in the increasing amount of evidence that consuming meat from wildlife provides a healthy, lean-meat diet, untainted with chemicals to increase size or growth rates.
America’s and Arizona’s hunters have recently been participating in the annual ritual of regulated hunting seasons, harvesting nature’s surplus of wildlife to feed friends and family and to reconnect with nature’s ecosystems in a meaningful way.
Their efforts fuel an economy in this state with more than $342 million in expenditures that support jobs in rural and urban locations. The economic effect of recreational hunting in Arizona alone surpasses many of our state’s largest employers.
In addition, Arizona’s hunters provide almost all the funding for wildlife-management programs. General taxes do not provide funds for wildlife management; rather, hunters’ expenditures for licenses, tags, and equipment provide that funding.
Current classic examples include the ongoing effort to re-establish desert bighorn sheep in the Catalina Mountains with transplants from other Arizona populations of bighorns. Another example is the successful reintroduction of Gould’s wild turkeys into all our local sky islands. All of the expense to do so is funded by hunter user fees and donations by private organizations.
The great abundance of our nation’s wildlife, many species brought back from near-extinction, is a model much admired throughout the world and has been made possible by regulated hunting.
As we continue to celebrate this holiday season, let’s enjoy nature’s bounty and remember the contributions of Arizona’s hunters to our economy and diversity of wildlife on our landscapes.
Gerry Perry, a wildlife biologist and outdoors enthusiast, is the co-chairman of Hunting Works for Arizona. He lives in Oro Valley. Contact him at [email protected]