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Olivia Nalos Opre: Why we hunt, even lions

Hunting is one of America's favorite pastimes, offering camaraderie, a sense of self accomplishment and ultimately the purest meat source one can put on a family table. More important, hunters play a big role in preserving and protecting our world's great wildlife. That's why it is sad to see front pages taken over by the actions of an unscrupulous professional hunter and a dentist with a record of flouting the rules that ensure hunting and conservation go hand in hand.
In other words, there's a greater picture here than one law-breaking hunt. Through the sales of hunting licenses, equipment and tags, sportsmen in the U.S. contribute $2.9 billion every year for conservation. As a result, many of the most popular wildlife species in America have rebounded from near-extinction levels.
Hunters are happy to pay to improve habitat, protect our streams, rivers and lakes and ensure our wildlands remain healthy. We know that in order for future generations to enjoy our hunting heritage, we need to be responsible stewards of wildlife. Charged with the protection and management of wildlife, state fish and game agencies receive approximately 75% of funding from hunter/angler/shooter dollars paid in license, tag and permit fees, and through the federal aid in the Pittman-Robertson Wildlife Restoration Act.
Hunters generate millions of dollars and provide thousands of volunteer man hours to non-profits such as Ducks Unlimited and the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation. More than 10 million acres of wetlands have been restored by Ducks Unlimited alone. And organizations like the Sportsmen's Alliance and the Safari Club International lobbying for the regulation of ethical hunting and the North American wildlife conservation modelaround the world.

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