Every hunter I know is an ambassador of our sport and outdoor heritage.
When you think of what an ambassador does, it makes you understand the importance of hunters to conservation. By definition, an ambassador is an accredited person sent by an organization to represent them. How well do each of us represent the hunting community? Do we speak of hunting and its associated partners positively every chance we get? Would the hunting community each of us represents be proud of us?
Hunter numbers are pretty darn important. Hunters are a force to be reckoned with, and the money they spend on hunting permits and habitat stamps helps fund conservation efforts. However, our numbers are dwindling in many areas. Over time, our numbers may not have the weight they do today if we fail to share our outdoor adventures with others. That is the bad news. The good news is that hunting is just more fun when we share our passion with others.
It is hard to imagine that one of the darkest issues facing conservation in the coming years is lack of hunters. It is scary to think of the consequences when you realize our hunters provide Nebraska with $848 million in annual economic impact and support nearly 9,000 jobs.
The problem is easy to solve if just 5 percent of Nebraska’s 176,000 hunters would introduce a new hunter to their deer camps and turkey hunts and help them along their journey of becoming a hunter.
This is not just about taking kids out to the field but about inviting the neighbor’s kids, too. Ask your co-workers, family and friends if they would like to try hunting. Some of the most die-hard hunters I know have started as adults. They simply did not grow up doing these activities, and hunting can be difficult to get into if Dad or Mom did not introduce you to it.
Today, there is a large movement afoot by adults who seek to live naturally and want to know where their food comes from. These locavores are your friends, family and co-workers. They would love to be invited to the field with you.
What about kids? Most studies suggest that not only would most kids go hunting if asked, but making a hunter out of them would benefit them as adults. Who would not want that for their kids? Not to mention, the quality time you spend with your kids in the field is the best. Over the years, my daughter and I shared conversations and laughter in the turkey blind that we never would have sitting on the couch.
As hunters, we love our heritage and what it represents. If each of us can see ourselves as an ambassador of the outdoors, we can have even greater impacts to conservation. There are people in our lives that would greatly benefit from hunting. Be an ambassador and ask them to join you this fall.