Hunt Equals Conservation.
This isn't a random catchphrase or just a thing I say to justify my hunting and shooting to ourselves. This isn't just what I believe, it's what I know. It simply is. This post has been in the making for 3.5 years:
I've been hunting for over 10 years now, shooting for even longer. My second major job out of school, when I was still 17, was in one of Australia's largest gunshops. After that I got my QLD firearm instructors licence and taught shooting for 5ish years. After stopping that, I was invited onto the team of a firearm lobby group.
All through these different endeavors, I have come across many different shooters and hunters, consumed almost too much shooting and hunting media, have been in social media shooting and hunting groups, and have been in many conversations relating to shooting and in particular to this post, hunting.
Hunters would always talk about how hunting is good for the environment. People would always talk about conservation, how removing invasive animals helps the environment, and why it's a valid genuine reason for firearm ownership. And I agreed. I would also read about management of these animals. Then people in Facebook groups would attack other people for killing "too many", not leaving any for them. I came across podcasts where somewhat "famous" hunters would talk about how some introduced animals *don't* cause any damage. People would say those who make the rules, or at least publish the information that leads to (for example) halting of roo harvest in parts of QLD, were just dumb city people. This in particular was confusing to me, as the field office for that QLD department is in Charleville, and Charleville is anything but city.
I noticed a recurring theme, a similarity, across everyone who was talking about all these topics. No one had any educational background in biology, ecology, environmental science, or anything similar at all, yet were speaking with absolute confidence. This irked me greatly, as experience in one thing does not make someone an expert, this left a lot of room for false information to be spread. I also started to see the recurring words of "conservation" and "management" as simply buzzwords, and saw the conservations that were being had online using the same techniques as "gotchya" journalism, as what extremist political activists would use (that shooters and hunters seemed to disagree with, but then use their techniques), and I didn't like that.
So, in 2019 I decided to enroll into university. I enrolled into a Bachelor of Science; major in biology, with minors in Wildlife Ecology and Environmental Science. This course had me learn all about the different levels of biology, from cells, bacteria, viruses, to large animal structures, bones, organs, population dynamics in ecology, the life of plants, waterway health, soil health, and most importantly; invasion ecology.
After all that I can safely say, Hunting Equals Conservation. I say that with both my decade plus experience in hunting and agriculture, and now, after 3.5 years of in depth learning about the Australian environment. I would like to add, however, some serious conversations need to be had with Australian hunters about the future of hunting in Australia if we would like to both have hunting and would like to practice good conservation techniques to protect our beautiful and unique landscape.
Thank you for reading.