Madison, MS -- (SBWIRE) -- 05/22/2014 -- A published research in the Wildlife Society Bulletin by Dr. Mark Vrtiska and his team at the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission concluded that licensed and organized duck hunting has enhanced the budget allotted for conservation. During the 1970s, a federal license for duck hunting produced an interestingly amount of money out of the “duck stamp” payments made by more than two million duck hunters. Ninety eight percent (98%) of which was used for improving the National Wildlife Refuge System.
Ecosystem-wise, duck hunting is but healthy for the environment. Man has a natural drive to hunt as it is part of his survival. It is an evolutionary fact. Wildlife should be preserved, yes. But wildlife, being a renewable resource, can never be stockpiled. Allowing hunters to harvest any surplus in the wildlife would in fact help in preventing nature to perform cruel elimination of these species.
This fact is the same premise of Dr. Vrtiska’s study. That duck hunting is advantageous for these birds. According to him, duck population has exceeded six times of 40 million starting 1995. This is what they call the “glory days” for duck hunting.
However, with the upsurge of imbalance in the ecosystem, and with the ongoing issues on funding and habitat conservation, duck stamps sales eventually fell. The downward trend started in 2008 and presently, there is an approximate annual decline of 30% in the sales of duck stamps. With a very limited sales (and budget to maintain the habitat), the capacity of the lands to produce ducks caused is becoming an issue.
Dr. Vrtiska’s study showed that drought was the major problem why ducks were not able to successfully reproduce in the past years. This weather problem can be resolved if there is enough rain. Cloud seeding can address this problem. And this would be made possible if there would be enough budget for the said activity.
The problem is there hasn't been enough good weather for ducks. Drought has had a significant impact across the US in the past few years. The duck stamp money helped construct the right types of habitat so that when it did eventually rain, the birds were able to reproduce successfully.
With the ever-changing environment brought about by different socio-cultural factors, will this duck hunting sector ever prosper again?
Scientists like Dr. Vrtiska and his team, are struggling to seek ways on how to bring back the duck hunting business to its glory days again. Giving license to people to shoot birds without using guns is one aspect that is being debated. Other revenue-generating activities that they are looking at are focused on the tourism and recreational aspects.
There is but a limit on how the waterfowl species should be preserved. The argument that duck hunting should be banned is basically created out of the emotional and misguided claims of anti-hunting and animal rights groups. Maintaining equilibrium in the ecosystem while letting mankind enjoy the tradition of duck hunting would not only address the issues of the duck hunting industry. It would be more of help to these species and to the ecosystem in which they exist.
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