Yes, Shooters and Tree-Huggers Can and Do Coexist

bear hunter woods rifle hunting

(AP Photo/Robert F. Bukaty)

The hook-and-bullet crowd isn’t always a natural partner with environmentalists, but even in this era of hyper-partisan politics, the groups’ commitment to healthy habitats gives them a common cause. Whether or not they realize it, land set aside for hunting is often enjoyed by other outdoor recreation enthusiasts such as hikers and birders, too.

– Christie Aschwanden, How Skyrocketing Gun Sales Are Helping To Conserve Butterflies [via] [h/t CB]



  1. avatar jwm says:

    Meh. They’re fanatics on both sides of the issue. I personally am glad that all the gun related articles I buy put their taxes towards the whole wildlife conservation thing.

    Saw live condors for the first time this year. Buzzurds aren’t my favorite birds(Tasty pheasants fill that niche) but just like sharks they have their place in the chain.

    Big ugly bird. But I’ll pay a couple bucks more for my hunting ammo if it keeps them around.

    1. avatar Slick says:

      Except Fish and Game withheld info that the levels of lead had not changed in areas that were already designated lead free for hunting.

      The entire thing is bull.

    2. avatar Ray Ficara says:

      When the “Center for Biological Diversity” which is an anti-hunting rabble, demanded that ND ban lead ammo the USF&W did an exhaustive study on condor blood lead levels and in humans. The birds and people in areas where there was a lot of hunting had a lot LESS lead in their blood. The birds and people in areas like CA had a lot MORE. Why? because chemical lead Pb is NOT a toxin. It BECOMES toxic in certain organic compounds like ethyl and methyl lead compounds found in industry and in ALL the gasoline sold in Mexico which has no retraints on lead in gas.


    3. avatar JasonMfromSoDakota says:

      “I’ll pay a couple more bucks” is a kin to saying “you don’t need a Ar 15”, neither are worthy of having my rights infringed upon nor am I comfortable with one of my pursuits of happiness being dictated by some anti-hunting moron with policy based on emotions. Not a big supporter of the second amendment are you, but hey as long as your comfortable paying a little extra forget the rest of us that haven’t taken the bait on selling out. Educate yourself about the outdoors before you buy into slanted studies, where data is arranged to deliver the beneficial outcome for the group paying for the data.
      The landowners are always overlooked for some reason and as a public land hunter I am thankful to them getting a tax break to not produce on their lands. Hunters and fishermen are the constant and primary economic contributors to conservation over any of the environmentalist groups, and our contributions are every year with enjoyment for all of the different seasons.

      1. avatar jwm says:

        Been in the 2a fight since 68, J. But you go ahead and be a happy little fascist flaming anybody that doesn’t toe your party line.

        And I hunt. I use lead ammo to target shoot with and as all hunters know the amount of ammo I send down range on living animals is very minute. A box or 2 of non lead ammo isn’t going to bankrupt as infrequently as I buy it.

        And guess what? My shotgun patterns better with steel shot.

        1. avatar JasonMfromSoDakota says:

          I am happy, and honest enough to call out some folks who trample on the liberty of all based on misguided notions and I believe in the constitution as the law of land. If that makes me a fascist then thanks, I always figured it made me an American citizen. Great you said you hunt way to establish credibility but living where you live and your toleration of infringement proves the only fighting you have done on behalf of the second amendment is buying a gun, which hey it is a start. I don’t sacrifice freedoms for comfort.

        2. avatar jwm says:

          Wow. If arrogance was fuel you’d be a Saudi Prince. Explain where i’ve stepped on anybody’s rights? I chose to live where i live because in a free country that’s what free people do. I have family and connections here that span a couple of generations.

          I support the NRA and the SAF. How about you? I support ARs for all that wish them including the giggle switch. I don’t wish one because a long time ago my rich uncle put one in my hands and there’s some bad memories associated with it.

          I hunt with non lead loads because in some areas it’s illegal not to. I hunt with non lead loads in areas where lead is still legal. My choice. You know what free people have.

  2. avatar JAlan says:

    I don’t really see this as a jab at hunters, but it is true that many do not consider themselves environmentalists. I’m a hunter and also an avid environmentalist, so I can see her point.

    1. avatar JR_in_NC says:

      There’s a difference between “conservationist” and “environmentalist.”

      Many self-proclaimed “environmentalists” are anything BUT conservation oriented. The term has been co-opted by a political wing of the Progressive movement and it is quite destructive.

      I know a group here in NC now that has “conservation” in the name and they are NOT what they appear to be to many of their well-meaning followers. What they’ve done in other states and and a lot of what they have said here reveal their true intentions….which have little to do with preserving anything and everything to do with damaging the livelihoods of people that live here.

      So, they’ve learned to even grab at the label “conservation.”

      1. avatar tdiinva says:

        Kind of like PETA whose heart bleeds for the animals it euthanizes.

      2. avatar juliesa says:

        Yes, I give a large portion of my annual income to habitat conservation, but I tear my hair out every time these climate change commies start whining about polar bears, which aren’t endangered. Such a waste of money and attention. I give my money to save species that are actually endangered, like the above mentioned condors, Aplomado falcons, and several species of quail and grouse.

  3. avatar the ruester says:

    Yep. When a liberal goes outside, it’s only to hug trees or chase butterflies. And they’re sure the bears in their (enlightened, close to academic centers of thought) area are read up on social justice and would never profile a limp wristed, granola munching hiker just for “walking while human.”

    1. avatar Mark N. says:

      After that kid was killed by a bear near Rutgers, the state decided it needed to cull some of the numerous bears in the area. I saw a post on LiveLeak that said we should cull humans instead and leave the bears to their own devices–such incidents are because there are just too many humans, which isn’t the bears’ fault and the bears should not have to die because of it. Then there was a video post by some maniac who was trying to interfere with the USFS (through the use of professional hunters) culling dear from some park in Maryland where they have become well overpopulated.

  4. avatar mark_anthony_78 says:

    She can thank the $8 billion that hunters and firearm owners have contributed to wildlife management since 1939 through the Pittman-Robertson Act.

    How many $$ have butterfly watchers contributed?

    1. avatar JR_in_NC says:

      But…but…they CARE!

    2. avatar neiowa says:

      Working example of the “Social Justice” BS. Tax the productive and working man to support their guilt ridden hobby.

      WTF is Christie Aschwanden? A libtard gadfly ANYONE every heard of her before? irrelevant.

    3. avatar 277Volt says:

      Exactly. I remind them of that every chance I get. I also remind them the single greatest contributor to conservation in America was a Republican, gun-loving hunter.

  5. avatar George in NC says:

    Why does she think that hunters aren’t hikers and birders too?

    1. avatar JR_in_NC says:

      One dimensional, closed mindedness is the short answer.

    2. avatar John M. says:

      Because hunters are THOSE people.

      Good grief, man, haven’t you seen Bambi?

  6. avatar tdiinva says:

    Hunters and fisherman, often the same people, have done more or for wildlife and habitat conservation than the Sierra Club ever has or ever will.

    1. avatar LarryinTX says:

      Ah. Is that what “hook and bullet crowd” is supposed to mean? What a bunch of dodos. Does “hook and bullet crowd” somehow take less effort to say or type than “hunters and fishermen”? They’re really working hard to be insulting, I think, and wholly failing.

      1. avatar JR_in_NC says:

        I think it is less about being insulting and more about creating “The Other.”

        Her audience can more easily demonize hunters and fishermen if she uses cutesy epithets to describe them.

        Olive branches aside, she still promotes “us vs them” thinking.

      2. avatar juliesa says:

        I’ve seen that term used by sportsman groups. It’s not an insult.

  7. avatar Shire-man says:

    It’s funny because every time some anti cries at the sound of gunfire during hunting season that anti is effectively upset at the person who paid for their nice wide handy-accessible groomed trail.

    Though I imagine the end game is somewhere beyond using the funds to purchase and lock down every open parcel of land possible ala Ted Turner then shutting the hunters and everyone else out.

    1. avatar Geoff PR says:


      Their ideal is no human ever crosses over, through, etc. the land.

      This manifests itself with crap such as no clearing brush in areas prone to fire.

  8. avatar Tufty says:

    LOL, 1.1 billion from hunt and gun types vs. 1.7 million from conservationists.

    Tree huggers STFU!

    1. avatar juliesa says:

      Well, that 1.7 million also comes from hunter groups. But the article also mentions the $500 million form the Nature Conservancy, and there are other smaller groups that give too. Still, anyway you slice it, the Pitman Robertson money dwarves the other sources.

      1. avatar juliesa says:

        Correction: Sorry, I had Conservation Alliance confused with the group that used to include the hunter orgs: Quail Forever, Ducks Unlimited, etc.

  9. avatar LJM says:

    The money I’ve spent on fishing, hunting licenses and stamps… The organizations I’ve supported Ducks Unlimited, Pheasants Forever, nd the indirect taxes I’ve paid from purchases of fishing and hunting equipment far outweigh the good whatever the granola eating crowd has contributed. Ever. Not even close. So to the urban “environmentalist” that questions my activities, claiming barbarism, lead pollution, “for the animals, KMA.

  10. avatar FoRealz? says:

    I’m a conservationist not an environmentalist.

    That means I don’t worship trees and Gaia and what not, but I do put my money where my mouth is and contribute cash through my sporting interests, unlike the pagan tree huggers.

    1. avatar Winterborne says:

      Hey, I’m a practicing Wiccan, a.k.a. a pagan. Please don’t lump all of us in with the fruit loops. We NEED the hunters and fishermen and money they put into the land. Respect the land and the spirits of the game you take.

      Kinda like a friend of mine, gay, social worker, and a serious right wing conservative. Go figure.

    2. avatar IdahoPete says:

      That video is beautiful – I could hardly control my emotions while watching it (primarily nausea). And the one thing I thought was missing came in at the end – the drum!

      These people are simply crying out for a demonstration of Darwinian selection. Too bad their mothers didn’t embrace their “right to choose” by aborting them all.

  11. avatar Tom in Oregon says:

    Because I’m an avid hunter, I’m also into all wildlife. I can name most butterflies native to my area, know a bird by its song, a snake by its shape and colors, and what animal left those turds in the trail as well as its footprints.
    Just because some of us hunt, doesn’t mean we don’t care for the other wildlife.
    I think she should be thanking hunters, shooters and defenders of freedom for another half a billion in P/R money.
    ” Whether or not they realize it, land set aside for hunting is often enjoyed by other outdoor recreation enthusiasts such as hikers and birders, too.”
    Trust me, I know.
    Oh, and your welcome.

    1. avatar 277Volt says:

      The average hunter knows ten times more about wildlife and ecosystems than the average environmentalist does.

      1. avatar PerplexedPistolero says:

        I never knew how much I retained from my ecology and evolutionary biology courses until I took a hunter safety course. Lots of overlap there. And unlike some practical work I’ve done, the ongoing field experiments are a lot of fun.

  12. avatar Tex300BLK says:

    Im not sure what the problem was? Well written article that ackowledges the enormous contribution that hunters and gun owners make to conservation every year. In fact she even distinguishes that it isn’t just hunters but anyone who buys a gun, ammo, or outdoors gear. So if those “tree hugging” bird watchers bought their binocs at Cabelas or Bass Pro its likely their money gets lumped in with yours in the conservation fund. That’s what its all about people. For me hunting is a therapeutic long walk through the woods with a tasty snack potentially waiting behind the next grove of trees. It isnt about the kill, its about the walk, the beautiful trees and open spaces, the chirping birds fluttering around overhead. The 4 legged critters scurrying along in front of you. And yes, even the butterflies make hunting beautiful.

    The most powerful drug I have experienced is sitting in a deer blind 45 minutes before sunrise, soft moonlight give way to greys, then slowly the greens and yellows, and then the fog that rolls in as the dew begins to evaporate. Then one by one tiny fingers of sunlight creep their way over the tree tops and fill the whole field. I love just sitting there and watching the different animals that move at different times. Or watching it all go in reverse in the evening, and straining my eyes looking at every rock and crevice for that late moving buck or doe right before shooting light goes away. What good would hunting be if we couldn’t enjoy all of that?

    1. avatar VTAero says:

      Agree on both paragraphs. I’m not really sure how she “dissed” hunters.

      I always struggle to drag myself out of bed early before dawn, but am always rewarded for the effort with the sounds, smells, and sights of the woods as the sun rises for a new day.

    2. avatar Robert Farago says:

      Point taken. Headline changed.

      1. avatar cmeat says:

        sort of makes some of the comments nonsequiturs.

      2. avatar Tex300BLK says:

        I like it!

      3. avatar VTAero says:

        Non sequiturs asside, I love the new headline!

  13. avatar Marcus (Aurelius) Payne says:

    Well, it’s progress at least.

  14. avatar John L. says:

    Sticks and stones can break my bones, so leave them in the forest.
    Our taxes go to mind the fields, the meadows and the glades;
    To hunt or fish, or ride or paint, we share the banks and shade.
    We share the time, for peace of mind, according to the season;
    We all love the same great land, so why do you abhor us?

    (now where’s my organically grown fair-trade solar-power roasted decaffe latte? Right … I left it in the Hummer.)

  15. avatar Roll says:

    Jokingly I’ve heard of environmentalists refered to as “Frizzy haired sandal enthusiasts” LOL all in good fun.

    Jokes aside, I’ve loved hiking in my area but its getting alot worse with the trash and other crap drug mules and illegals leave. They honestly dont care and toss crap anywhere.

  16. avatar RockOnHellChild says:

    So, those hiking licenses pay for all that land then…?

  17. avatar Jake Tallman says:

    I don’t see this as a jab at hunters. She’s right, hunters and fishermen AREN’T environmentalists, but most of them have a pretty good grasp on conservation, and the difference is significant. I’ve spent a fair amount of time working in conservation (with Americorps programs here in Southwest Colorado), most recently spending a few months on a chainsaw crew.

    A few times, we had people coming up to us and angrily shouting at about how horrible we are for dropping trees, despite the fact that it’s actually necessary for the health of the forest (the last hundred or so years of fire suppression have been devastating to the forests in a way that’s not immediately obvious). Those are the environmentalists, whereas we were the conservationists.

    Environmentalism is the myopic school of thought that ANY acts that harm even a single tree or bird are inherently bad, and they don’t have the mental capacity to understand how complex ecosystems work, or to understand the fact that, for example, deer populations have evolved with predators, including humans, hunting them, so if humans stop hunting deer, that equilibrium is lost and the deer population becomes overgrown. “Yay! More cute deer!” The environmentalists shout as the deer slowly starve to death.

    They’re also motivated by the “caring is just as good as doing” mentality. They don’t even actually love nature, they love the IDEA of nature. Look at how many of them live in urban centers, and would literally kill themselves without all the modern amenities they have (smart phones, wi-fi, makeup, running water, showers on demand, clean water on demand, etc). And, ironically, they also look down their noses at people like me, who actually love nature (and thus have no problem spending weeks in the backcountry, sleeping in a tent, shitting in a cathole, making a bearhang, treating water, being dirty because there are no showers in the backcountry, etc.

    1. avatar JR_in_NC says:


      There is a ton of “symbolism over substance” in the environmental movement.

      Some of the most rabid, hateful screamers I’ve encountered have never stepped one foot off a maintained, HC accessible trail.

      And, even if they haven’t, that’s okay, too…if they knew what they were talking about. I think that’s the dividing line for me. Stuff like the animal rights folks getting all twisted over the dude that won the tag to kill that rhino last year is a good example. Pure ignorance.

      I oppose rhino poaching. But, that was not poaching. In that case, a legal hunt, they were just blind to the facts, such as that bull was HURTING the herd by not letting younger ones breed while he was not breeding himself. It simply makes no sense to argue “it’s for the rhinos” when your actions HURT the rhinos.

      In cases where “help vs hurt” is ambiguous, fine…we can have a discussion and try to noodle it out. But, they never even want that (see it a lot here with some fishing regs). They oppose data-based, science guided management and default to a knee jerk, dogmatically held position of “human wrong.”

      Further, I don’t even like the idea that humans have to or should “manage” wildlife, but that’s the situation we’ve created. Those same screamers are the ones that love all their cookie cutter suburban neighborhoods and all the nice, fast four lane highways …. they live a lifestyle of loving not only technology, but loving everything that comes from habitat destruction.

      So, we’ve made it to where we HAVE to accept some role in the management of the habitat that’s left. They refuse to see that. Your predator example is a good one; there are many others.

      I think there are some “environmentalists” that have their heart in the right place. I know one such person. But, for example, last year, I had a long talk with her about coyotes in this area and what they are doing, and she was very quiet for a long time and finally said…”I had no idea.”

      There’s the problem…or part of it. They are not informed. They are, like we see too often in other issues, making decisions emotionally. That’s a fine STARTING POINT, but one’s education on a subject can’t end there.

      1. avatar NoID says:

        *slow clap*

    2. avatar juliesa says:

      Aldo Leopold wrote: “The central thesis of game management is this: game can be restored by the creative use of the same tools which have heretofore destroyed it – ax, plow, cow, fire, and gun.” I would add herbicides to that list.

      It’s amazing how many people who fancy themselves “environmentalists” know nothing about the environment.

  18. avatar Curtis in IL says:

    I’m not a hunter, but I long ago recognized hunters as the greatest conservationists in the U.S. Glad to see those efforts recognized.

    1. avatar juliesa says:

      I know a very smart non-hunting vegetarian tree hugger who buys hunting licenses and duck stamps to help pay the way.

  19. avatar Rambeast says:

    That is one handsome pup. I always wanted a Blue Heeler.

    1. avatar juliesa says:

      I had one for 16 years. She wasn’t the smartest dog I’ve ever had (that’s the Blue lacy I have now), but she was tremendously gutsy. She also helped raise my son, by being very protective of him when he was a toddler.

  20. avatar Matt Richardson says:

    I really don’t understand why so few people actually get it… I don’t know anyone who grew up hunting and/or fishing that doesn’t understand that good stewardship of the land you are harvesting from is the best way to guarantee future hunting and fishing.

    As a kid I could identify fungi, berries, onions as well as many non-edible species of plants, insects, and other animals in an area that would speak volumes about the overall “health” of the land I was on. Even without knowledge of the last couple years’ rainfall I could tell you how good/bad it was just based on the flora and fauna in the region. Hunters and fisherman have always been very tuned into and concerned with the well-being of the land because they have an INVESTMENT in the land. Hiking, climbing, bird-watching; these are all some of my favorite things to do. I do the majority of all of them whilst fishing and hunting.

    And let me tell you; a meal of fresh game made with local onions and mushrooms and followed by wild berries for dessert, all locally gathered and prepared in the field is heaven on earth. Still learning the ropes here in my new home state.

    1. avatar Curtis in IL says:

      People don’t get it because their brains can’t comprehend a hunter as anything more than an undereducated redneck who enjoys killin’ stuff. Their own ignorance also prevents them from understanding that killing a percentage of one species allows other species to thrive.

  21. avatar Former Water Walker says:

    Don’t be fooled. Hunters are the good guys(and gals). Anti hunting is part of a religion. The moral equivilency is a dog=a cockroach=a fish=a horse=a BABY. Humans are the invasive species. Worshipping the creature instead of the CREATOR. BTW I can’t post a comment on mobile for whatever reason…

  22. avatar Milsurp Collector says:

    The nerve of this lady, ignoring the fact that hunters are the sole reason she and her hiker friends have trails to begin with. Just look at the revenue numbers, it’s pretty clear which group does most of the work to keep the grass green.

    The environmentalist agenda is as much about protecting nature as the antis’ is about preventing gun violence anyway; all smoke, mirrors, and bullsh!t. If these people really had their way we’d all be living in mini East-Berlins. Entire ecosystems would implode outside these prison-cities from lack of human management and they wouldn’t care because the only agenda they’re after is total government dependence from cradle to grave, just like the antis. Why do you think they hate hunting so much? Because hunting breeds self-reliance. Conservationalists (i.e. hunters) I can understand, however, because they’re sane and understand that human lives matter too.

  23. avatar IdahoPete says:

    “The hook-and-bullet crowd isn’t always a natural partner with environmentalists, but even in this era of hyper-partisan politics, the groups’ commitment to healthy habitats gives them a common cause. Whether or not they realize it, land set aside for hunting is often enjoyed by other outdoor recreation enthusiasts such as hikers and birders, too.”

    May I translate this? “Environmentalist wackos continue to parasitize the habitat work funded by hunters, shooters, and fishermen.”

    It frosts my butt when the greenies get a state (CALIF) to change the “Dept. of Fish&Game” to the “Dept of Wildlife” or “Dept of Natural Resources” – this is a very deliberate ploy to hide the fact that these departments are funded by hunting and fishing licenses, not by the general taxpayer. Parasites. They certainly aren’t going to buy a “wildlife watching license”.

    1. avatar jwm says:

      They will have to if hunting is banned. Or there will be no more wild life to watch.

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