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USA

“The nation behaves well if it treats the natural resources as assets which it must turn over to the next generation increased, and not impaired, in value.” —Theodore Roosevelt, 1910

Since establishing The Hunting Agency in 2008, Roo Ellis has appreciated that the Hunters of North America are as diverse and the landscape and environments that they hunt over and while there remains a strong tradition of hunting as a means of providing food for one’s self and family, sport hunting is also hugely popular here too, with Handguns, Bows, Rifles and Black-powder weapons being used to great effect, all of which is mirrored by the wide array of sporting goods retailers and training facilities, shooting ranges and so on across the United States.

By way of background, the North American continent contains a vast array of wildlife species and habitats. This diversity includes species as physically varied as a 1,500-pound moose and a 1.5-ounce mouse. Habitats range from coastal marshes to alpine meadows, prairie grasslands to desert shrublands, northern hardwood forests to conifer-covered mountains. Throughout most of the continent, the diversity of wildlife is rivaled only by its abundance. Wildlife and associated habitats drive economic, ecological, cultural, and social benefits that have and continue to shape the nation. Although unfortunately, most Americans are unaware of the efforts to sustain their rich wildlife legacy in the same way that Europeans have, forgetting that meat does not originate from polystyrene containers but once had fur or feathers and a face! Many believe that wildlife will survive best without any form of human intervention. The history of conservation contradicts that false belief.

The wildlife species across the US do not exist by accident; rather, they grace this land because of the dedicated work of millions of individuals and hundreds of organizations over more than 100 years. Two centuries of settlement and development of lands and waters, unregulated market hunting, and a belief that wildlife was an impediment to and an unlimited food source for civilization devastated wildlife populations and their habitats across the continent. The unrestrained slaughter of the American bison and unsustainable forest, rangeland, and agricultural land practices in the late 1800s motivated a clarion call from individuals like George Bird Grinnell, Gifford Pinchot, Theodore Roosevelt, and others to take clear and decisive action. In response, the nation’s hunters and conservationists established new organizations dedicated solely to protect and conserve wildlife. The Boone and Crockett Club, founded in 1887, was the first national conservation organization. Soon after, other organizations and individuals added their voices to the call for conservation. This citizen-driven conservation movement ultimately led to the development of treaties, conventions, laws, regulations, and protections for wildlife and their habitat.

The policy of conservation here in the United States continues to this day and as recently as August 2007, President George W. Bush signed Executive Order 13443 entitled “Facilitation of Hunting Heritage and Wildlife Conservation.” The purpose of this Executive Order was to direct selected federal agencies to facilitate the expansion and enhancement of hunting opportunities and the management of game species and their habitat.

The Executive Order among other things, called for a North American Wildlife Policy Conference within one year to advance wildlife conservation and hunting heritage including:

• The North American Model for Wildlife Conservation

• State/Federal/Tribal Wildlife Management

• Habitat Conservation and Management

• Funding for Wildlife Conservation

• Perpetuating Hunter Tradition

One of the greatest conservation accomplishments in the USA was the restoration of whitetails from the brink of extinction to a current population of more than 20 million. The legend of subsistence poaching after the depression of the 1920’s and 30’s here in the US is already well documented, but managed hunting has increased deer populations, expanded hunting opportunity and given rise to an American original: the hunter/conservationist who pays for the opportunity to manage a public resource and who cherishes the very quarry he intends to kill.

Whitetail Hunting drives the US Hunting industry, not only in terms of numbers of participants (more than 11 million), but also with the hunting licenses that fund state wildlife agencies (nearly $600 million annually) and the equipment purchased ($12.4 billion).

“The whitetail deer is the backbone of the hunting industry in America,” says John L. Morris, founder and owner of Bass Pro Shops. “And not just in the fall, prior to hunting season. In the last decade we’ve seen deer hunters become year-round customers as they develop land and intensively manage their property.”

This hunting heritage was already in place before European Settlers first visited. Deer were an integral part of Native American's lives. Meat and bone marrow made up a large part of their diet. Indians used hides for clothing, rugs, blankets, fishnets and the like. They crafted arrowheads, clubs, fishhooks and tools out of bones.

The first settlers of America feasted on various animals, such as turkeys and grouse. Then they discovered the big Virginia whitetail. Native Americans taught the colonists how to utilize a deer efficiently, using every scrap of meat, hide and bone.

Today there are actually 52 Big Game animals in North America and they are:

American Alligator, Pronghorn Antelope, Barren Ground Grizzly Bear, American Black Bear, Alaska Brown Bear, Common Grizzly Bear, Polar Bear, American Bison, Barren Ground Muskox, Greenland Muskox, Artic Islands Caribou, Alaska Yukon Barren Ground Caribou, Central Canada Barren Ground Caribou, Mountain Caribou, Quebec Labrador Caribou, Woodland Caribou, Bobcat, Canada Lynx, Jaguar, Mountain Lion, Central American Whitetail Deer, Columbia Blacktail Deer, Coues Whitetail Deer, Desert Mule Deer, Gray Brown Brocket Deer, Mexican Whitetail Deer, Northeastern Whitetail Deer, Northwestern Whitetail Deer, Red Brocket Deer, Rocky Mountain Mule Deer, Sitka Blacktail Deer, Southeastern Whitetail Deer, Texas Whitetail Deer, Rocky Mountain Elk, Roosevelt Elk, Tule Elk, American Mountain Goat, Alaska Yukon Moose, Eastern Canada Moose, Shiras Moose, Western Canada Moose, Collared Peccary or Javelina, White Lipped Peccary, California Bighorn Sheep, Dall Sheep, Desert Bighorn Sheep, Rocky Mountain Bighorn Sheep.

Then you have all the species and sub-species of deer including Moose, Elk, Mule Deer, White-tail, Black-tail, Coues deer. Pronghorn Antelope. Feral hog can be included although technically they are not listed as 'game' animals. Then you have the American Bison, all the bears: Polar, Great Brown, Grizzly, Black bear. I suppose you could throw the big cats into the mix: Indigenous to North America are Mountain Lion, Jaguar, (Panther which is same as the Jag or other big cat but black in color), Lynx, Bobcat. That makes 19. Wolf makes 20. Coyote? Well, that makes 21. If you wanted to include the gobblers and water fowl, Stone Sheep, Atlantic Walrus, Pacific Walrus, Gray Wolf Wolverine and so on, plus areas like Texas have exotic Ranges too, so species such as  Oryx, Blackbuck, Red Deer and so on, even Impala and Springbok plus Buffalo too, then there are the birds and a fair bit of fishing!

It would be impossible to offer the full spectrum of all that the United States has to offer the sporting hunter, but we do hope to bring our clients a flavor for what is available together with some other truly American pass-times such as pistol shooting, shooting from helicopters and some practical training opportunities for those who welcome a holiday with a difference!

As always, if you have any specific requirements or questions regarding any or all of our international hunting and shooting opportunities, please feel free to contact us directly for an informal chat!