As stewards of the land we do much more than harvest wild game from our properties. Every year endless hours are spent improving the habitat on our land, hunting clubs, or leases. From food plots to timber stand improvements to predator management, there is no doubt that hunters contribute more to conservation than anyone else. However, there are still other ways to give back and contribute to wildlife conservation on a larger scale.
The National Wild Turkey Federation (NWTF), the Quality Deer Management Association (QDMA), Ducks Unlimited (DU), and the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation (RMEF) may be familiar to you. They are some of the most popular wildlife related organizations. Not only are these organizations designed to educate hunters and inform us of topics related to that particular game species, they are also major contributors for wildlife conservation. All of the aforementioned organizations focus a tremendous amount of time and money into wildlife conservation.
The Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation has been at the forefront on allocating land for conservation for decades now and there is no doubt their work has paid off. Millions of acres have been allocated to conservation through the RMEF all across the country and elk numbers are thriving because of their efforts. The National Wild Turkey Federation is also known for its very successful habitat restoration projects that are beneficial to a plethora of game and non-game species, with the wild turkey as their primary focus. Ducks Unlimited is known for its restoration projects that benefit migratory waterfowl species. From restoring watersheds and grasslands to replanting forests, DU is the leader in wetland conservation. The Quality Deer Management Association is built on four cornerstones: Herd management, habitat management, hunter management, and herd monitoring. They also provide invaluable resources about the newest studies and management techniques for creating a habitat that’s beneficial to a variety of wildlife species, with the white-tailed deer as their primary focus.
There are many other management organizations out there and they’re not hard to find. I would encourage any hunter or outdoorsmen to join at least one organization for the sole purpose of supporting the conservation for the wildlife we enjoy to pursue. All of the aforementioned organizations offer affordable annual memberships as well as a subscription to their magazine. Most of all, they actually use the money they acquire for large scale projects and education. That’s something we can all stand for.