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Nevada

Hunting

Investing in Your Hunt

By Eric Cachinero

There’s just something about hunting that instills within us equal feelings of accomplishment, tradition, nostalgia, and pride. In an instant of pondering, the hunter can call to mind the scent of dew-nipped sagebrush, the pump of adrenaline when an animal finds its way into our binoculars, the fiery glow of a fall aspen patch, and the memories made around a hunting camp. The truth is, many of us learn and understand what it is that we gain from going afield—a deep connection with nature, a sustainable organic food source, and an everlasting respect for the bounties that the Earth provides.

But what many of us may not know, is how our love for the outdoors affects everything else around us. It is important to remember not only what we gain from hunting, but what we give back. The relationship between hunter and game is largely reciprocal. These gifts that we receive from nature are, in a way, gifts we give to wildlife.

Conservation Equation

Many outdoorsmen have been told that their license dollars go directly to wildlife conservation, but what does that mean exactly? Hearing that your money goes somewhere and seeing exactly where it goes are two separate things entirely.

Historically, drought has had one of the biggest impacts on Nevada’s wildlife numbers. In some of the driest parts of the state, wildlife simply couldn’t survive some years without the construction and maintenance of manmade waterholes called guzzlers. In 2020, NDOW hauled more than 167,000 gallons of water to 30 different guzzlers in Nevada; that’s enough to fill around 500 average-sized hot tubs, or fill around 1.25 million bottles of water. Given that Nevada—the driest state in the country—is currently in a drought, this water proved vital to animals big and small, game and non.

This is possible because of you.

Through conservation efforts, including NDOW’s trapping and transplanting program, the number of desert bighorn sheep has increased from fewer than 3,000 in 1960 to around 10,000 today. This increase allows for more plentiful hunting opportunities for sportsman, as well as more diverse hunts, including the new-to-2021 archery desert bighorn sheep hunt (see Bighorn Sheep Hunts).

This is possible because of you.

As many of us know, Nevada suffered a particularly devastating fire season in 2020. When fires destroy fragile sagebrush ecosystems, they can become forever scarred and vulnerable to invasive species like cheatgrass, which isn’t a valuable food source for big-game animals. Each year, NDOW works on habitat restoration projects on more than 80,000 acres.

This is possible because of you.

Who Can Help?

Conservation and the future of hunting lies not solely on the shoulders of the traditional hunter, though. In fact, it relies heavily upon the continued interest of younger generations, and those who may not even hunt. NDOW makes it possible for hunters and nonhunters alike to contribute to wildlife conservation in many ways (see sidebar below).

What’s Your Reason?

President Theodore Roosevelt provided a perfectly condensed version of the conservation message: “The wildlife and its habitat cannot speak, so we must and we will.” Perhaps now more than ever, Nevada’s wildlife relies upon us to be their voice. Because these things that are possible because of you, rely upon you to become possible. Your part in the conservation equation can be as simple as taking a kid out hunting, purchasing a license and applying for tags, or regenerating hunting interest in a friend or relative that hasn’t hunted in a few years due to one reason or another. All it takes is a little bit of effort on our part to invest in our hunt. We must and we will.

How To Help

Resource Enhancement Stamp

Funds raised through Resource Enhancement Stamps go directly into the wildlife account in the Nevada state general fund and is used directly for wildlife conservation. These stamps are a great way for hunters and nonhunters alike to give back to Nevada’s wildlife. Stamps are $10 each.

ndowlicensing.com

Volunteer

NDOW relies upon a dedicated and diverse team of volunteers to promote its conservation mission. Opportunities range from fish stocking to nesting surveys and everything in between.

ndow.org/education/volunteer

Purchase a License

Anyone can purchase a license, even if they don’t plan to hunt or fish. This is a great way to invest directly to Nevada’s wildlife.

ndowlicensing.com