By Rayna Charnley, @raynacharnley
Whether backpacking deep in the wilderness of the Sierra Nevada or just exploring my own backyard, I have always felt a special connection with the great outdoors.
My love of nature has brought me to many unexpected places, but the most surprising and memorable experiences have occurred while hunting. Growing up I had access and insight into very different ideologies about living alongside nature.
Although both my parents are avid outdoorsmen, they both see mankind’s relationship with the natural world very differently. My father is a hunter and fisherman, while my mother is a dedicated environmentalist and activist. It wasn’t until my early college years studying forestry that I realized how closely tied the viewpoints of my parents are.
The goals, ideologies and passions of hunters and environmentalist are essentially the same—both routing for a healthy and balanced ecosystem. Much like environmentalists, hunters aim at sustaining, regulating and protecting the vulnerable land and animals from people. When I too became a hunter, I began to understand the meaningful role (legal) hunters carry out by maintaining healthy wildlife populations.
Seventy-five percent of federal and state funding responsible for the management of our country’s wildlife is done with the sale of licenses, permits, wildlife stamps, and with a special tax on select hunting products.
The Nevada Department of Wildlife works hard to regulate hunting and fishing in order to protect the environment and the animals.
For example, the state of Nevada offers a prestigious hunting tag called the Heritage Tags. These hunting tags have no set price and are only available to the highest bidder and offer a unique opportunity to hunt anywhere in the state, with any legal weapon throughout the season.
Hunters with the means to bid have raised an impressive $5 million since the program began in 1998. Funds collected from Heritage Tags are used for the “protection, propagation, restoration, transplanting, introduction, and management” of that particular species of bird, fish or mammal or their habitat (Nevada Dept. of Wildlife).
During Nevada’s 78th Legislature, I will be following Assembly Bill 78 which concerns making changes to Elk tags and other large mammal tags. I am eager to learn more about the bill and how stakeholders feel about the proposed changes. I hope to better understand why AB78 is being proposed as well as other important factors, such as drought, disease and herd numbers.
To read the full text of the bill, click here.