How Hunting Saves Wildlife

Hunting is often seen as a cruel, unnecessary, and unethical practice that harms wildlife and their habitats; however, this is far from the truth. Hunting is actually one of the most effective and sustainable ways of conserving wildlife and their habitats.

red deer

Image by Gaby Stein

In this article, we explain how hunting saves wildlife.

Hunting Provides Funding for Conservation 

One of the main ways that hunting saves wildlife is by providing funding for conservation. Hunters contribute to conservation through various taxes, fees, and donations that support wildlife management and habitat protection.

In the United States, hunters pay an 11% excise tax on firearms, ammunition, and archery equipment through the Federal Aid in Wildlife Restoration Act, also known as the Pittman-Robertson Act. This tax generates about $1 billion every year. This is then distributed to state fish and wildlife agencies to fund wildlife research, restoration, education, and access programs.


Rhino in a conservancy

Image by Kevin 

Hunters pay for hunting licenses and tags, which generate another $1 billion every year for state wildlife agencies. Additionally, hunters buy federal duck stamps which are required for hunting migratory waterfowl. The revenue from duck stamps is used to buy or lease wetlands for waterfowl habitat conservation.

Various conservation organizations receive thousands of dollars in donations from hunters annually. Organizations such as the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation, Ducks Unlimited, Pheasants Forever, and the National Wild Turkey Federation receive hefty donations which they use for the acquisition, restoration, and enhancement of wildlife habitats, as well as advocating for hunting rights and educating the public about wildlife conservation.

According to a report by the Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation, hunters contribute more than $3 billion every year to conservation in the United States.

Hunting Controls Wildlife Populations 


A Bison with its calves

photo by tony garcia

Hunting not only supports conservation efforts but also benefits from them. Thanks to the contributions of hunters and other conservationists, many wildlife species that were once endangered or threatened have recovered or increased their numbers significantly. For example, bison were nearly extinct in the late 19th century due to unregulated hunting and habitat loss. Today there are over 500,000 bison in North America thanks to conservation efforts by hunters and others. 

Similarly, wild turkeys were reduced to less than 30,000 birds in the early 20th century due to habitat destruction and overhunting. Today there are over 7 million wild turkeys in North America thanks to restoration programs funded by hunters.


wild turkeys

Image by j-photos

Overpopulation in an ecosystem can bring about an imbalance that can be detrimental to its sustenance. Hunting helps to maintain ecological balance by preventing the overpopulation of certain species that can cause damage to habitats, crops, livestock, and human health. For instance, deer are one of the most abundant and adaptable wildlife species in North America. However, without hunting, deer populations can grow beyond the carrying capacity of their habitats. This leads to overgrazing, habitat degradation, disease outbreaks, starvation, and increased conflicts with humans and other animals.

Hunting helps to keep deer populations at healthy levels that are compatible with human activity, land use, and available habitat. By reducing deer browse in agricultural areas, hunting helps to prevent crop losses and soil erosion. Also, it helps to save human lives and reduce property damage by reducing deer-car collisions.

hunter aiming at a target with a rifle

Image by mtorben

Controlling Invasive Exotic Species

Hunting helps to control invasive or exotic species that threaten native wildlife and ecosystems. For example, hunting helps to reduce the population of feral hogs in the United States. Feral hogs are non-native animals that cause millions of dollars of damage to crops, livestock, property, and native plants and animals every year. They also carry diseases that can infect humans and domestic animals.

Hunting helps to keep feral hog numbers in check by removing some of the animals from the landscape. According to a study by Texas A&M University, hunters kill about 750,000 feral hogs annually in Texas alone.

Hunting Promotes Wildlife Conservation Awareness

Hunting saves wildlife by promoting wildlife conservation awareness among hunters and non-hunters alike. Hunting helps people appreciate the value of wildlife and their habitats by creating a direct connection between them.

Hunters learn about the behavior, ecology, and management of wild animals by observing them in their natural environment. They also learn about the importance of respecting the laws and regulations that govern hunting activities. Hunters develop a sense of responsibility and stewardship for wildlife resources by following ethical hunting practices.

Helps in Understanding the Challenges and Threats Wildlife Face and How to Tackle Them

Hunting helps people understand the challenges and threats that wildlife face including;

  • Habitat loss
  • Climate change
  • Poaching
  • Disease
  • Human-wildlife conflict

Hunters support conservation efforts by reporting illegal activities, participating in surveys and censuses, volunteering for habitat restoration projects, and educating others about wildlife issues.

Income Generation for Local Economies

Hunting also creates economic incentives for landowners and communities to conserve wildlife and their habitats. Hunting generates income from fees, licenses, taxes, tourism, and related businesses. This income can be used to fund conservation programs or provide alternative livelihoods for people who depend on natural resources.

According to a report by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), hunting supports the livelihoods of millions of people worldwide and contributes more than $20 billion annually to global conservation funding.


Hunting is not only a recreational activity but also a vital tool for wildlife conservation. It provides funding for conservation programs, controls wildlife populations, promotes wildlife conservation awareness, and creates economic incentives for landowners and communities to conserve wildlife and their habitats.

Parts of legislation and regulations have been adopted to help in hunting regulation to ensure its sustainability and compatibility with other conservation objectives.  It helps guide ethical principles that ensure its respect for wildlife, habitats, and people.

Hunting is a part of the human heritage and culture that should be celebrated and preserved for future generations. Hunting is a way of connecting with nature and appreciating its beauty and diversity. It is a way of saving wildlife.

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Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links. If you make a purchase, we may receive a commission. This won't affect your purchase price.