Fall is known for many things: colorful leaves, bonfires, apple cider, jacket weather, and a lot of pumpkin-spiced items. For hunters, however, fall is best known as the start of hunting season. Between October and November, hunting licenses for pheasants, ducks, deer, and more become available, allowing countless hunters to enjoy this time-honored tradition.
But hunting is more than a recreational sport; it’s a vital component to wildlife and habitat conservation.
Hunting licenses and fees provide states with large amounts of funds every year. The Duck Stamp alone has raised over $700 million since it’s introduction. Most of this money goes directly towards wildlife protection, habitat conservation, clean water initiatives, and similar efforts. Meanwhile, the act of hunting itself helps maintain balance in wildlife populations while protecting local ecosystems.
Yet, despite these efforts, certain areas across the US have continued to suffer from habitat loss due to urban, industrial, and agricultural expansion. Without the necessary habitat, local wildlife species experience massive population declines, further hurting environmental balance while greatly reducing hunting opportunities.
It can also be dangerous for local residents. Without proper habitat, native wildlife begin to wander into human populated areas, resulting in infections, the spread of ticks, and serious accidents. Approximately 1.5 million car accidents are caused just by deer each year.
To further aid wildlife conservation and habitat protection, the 1990 Farm Bill added wildlife habitat and wetlands establishment to the Conservation Reserve Program. Since then, CRP has proven very beneficial for habitat establishment, wildlife populations, and ultimately, local hunters.
The Impact of CRP on Wildlife and Hunting
Since the passing of the 1990 Farm Bill, CRP has helped local wildlife species thrive, many of which are vital to hunting. The population of ducks has increased by 30%, adding about 2 million additional ducks every year. The population of ring-necked pheasants has increased by 22%. The Northern Bobwhite quail has experienced a population increase of 730,000.
Meanwhile, CRP land has been proven to attract white-tailed deer, which helps keep them out of roads while providing a great opportunity to hunters.
For hunters, enrolling in CRP can provide you with the perfect hunting environment in your own backyard. Even farmers and landowners who don’t hunt will often let others use their land for hunting. Outside of hunting, CRP provides a great boost in soil health while providing habitat for local wildlife and protecting local water supplies.
If you’re interested in enrolling in CRP, FDCE can make it simple. Our full-service CRP solutions take care of the entire establishment process for you, from CRP seed purchasing and establishment to documentation and report submission for cost-share reimbursement.
Contact us today to learn about our services.