What's in a headline? A lot if you read the recent headlines on the northern Yellowstone elk herd: "Yellowstone Elk Herd Declines 80 Percent Since 1992."
If that doesn't grab your attention as a hunter, you better stick to following celebrity silliness on TMZ. There's enough of that to keep you dizzy for days. I can't wait for my next Bobby Brown update!
I understand the element of trends in wildlife population dynamics. Weather, predators, unknown factors and, yes, even hunting can have an impact on populations. It's without question wolves were behind much of this dramatic elk decline although a severe winter was also to blame for the recent plunge in this local elk herd.
What I'm beginning to question is why are we as hunters the only ones paying for wildlife management? Everyone and their brothers seem to have an opinion today, and a strong-arm tactic to change the course of common-sense management principles. Not only do we as hunters tax ourselves to the tune of more than $2 billion (Pittman Robertson Act), we also purchase licenses to hunt and that money also goes straight to fund wildlife agency efforts.
But instead of sound game management principles we get court fights, research detours and injunctions on hunting seasons. All of this comes courtesy from individuals and groups that give nothing back to the resource except diversions, and roadblocks.
I don't mind paying my fair share. In fact, I'm sure I pay more than my fair share, but is it time that everyone is taxed for our national, natural resources? Everyone has a place at the table, and as citizens they should have a seat, but if they want to sit down and dictate the future course of wildlife they need to put some pennies into the piggybank.
How about a tax for online readers of TMZ as a start?