Consumptive hunting: A passion that fuels conservation efforts

Published Wed 21 Feb 2024

Well, well, well; if it isn't another tale as old as time: Pristine natural habitats marred by human neglect, and the usual suspects pointing fingers every which way but the right one. Cue the dramatic sighs from Field & Game Australia, as we once again find ourselves in the familiar position of saying, "We told you so."

Let's take a moment to talk about Victoria, where the wetlands are not just bodies of water but cherished landscapes thanks to the stewardship of volunteer hunters who invest time, effort, and resources into their care. You might ask: "Why do they do this?" The answer is: Because in Victoria, the recreational and consumptive harvest of waterfowl isn't just a pastime, it's a passion that fuels conservation. Hunters have a vested interest in maintaining these wetlands, ensuring they're not only rubbish-free but also thriving ecosystems that support a diverse range of wildlife. This isn't just about keeping these environments clean; it's about ensuring the survival and prosperity of these vital natural resources.

Now, let's contrast this with the unfortunate situation in New South Wales, where the concept of stewardship by consumptive harvesters is notably absent. The story from Griffith's Nericon and Campbell's wetlands paints a grim picture. Rubbish strewn about, wildlife at risk, and the local council scrambling to put together a "comprehensive restoration plan". It's almost as if — dare we say it — there's a direct correlation between the presence of active, engaged stewardship by hunters and the health of these wetlands.

But no, surely it's the hunters who are to blame for all the woes of the world, right? It couldn't possibly be the lack of incentive for people to actively participate in the care and maintenance of these areas. It couldn't be that in places like Victoria, where hunters are involved, the wetlands are better managed, cleaner, and safer for both wildlife and human visitors alike.

So, to the critics of hunting and those quick to point fingers without understanding the full scope of the issue, we extend our most heartfelt, "We told you so." It's high time to acknowledge that the problem is much larger than a misplaced disdain for hunting. It's about stewardship, engagement, and creating incentives for people to care for their natural surroundings. Perhaps, just perhaps, it's time to look towards those who have been doing it right all along and learn a thing or two about real conservation efforts.