This land is our land: The importance of hunters, anglers, bikers, cyclists working together for our common good in preserving public lands | Outside Online

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Even today, while I spend as much time and effort advocating on behalf of wildlife habitat as I do hunting in it, some people who spot me with my rifle are never going to imagine anything but a callous hick who inflicts suffering on animals while littering backcountry roads with beer cans. Of course, the stereotypes run both ways. While a professional nature photographer may advocate for conservation through their work, a hunter may view them as profiting from wildlife without financially contributing to federal and state conservation programs, the latter of which are funded primarily through the purchase of hunting and fishing licenses and the collection of excise taxes levied against guns, ammo, archery equipment, and fishing supplies. In 2017, these fees added up to over $2.7 billion.

Such divisions are especially seductive in today’s fractured political climate of red versus blue and rural versus urban, where we’re all busy wounding our enemies rather than collecting friends. But there’s never been a more important time for hunters and anglers and the outdoor-recreation community to come together for conservation. By doing so, we can shift our focus to common foes who would like to undo the legacies of both Roosevelt and Muir by privatizing our public lands, stripping away our access to public waterways, and opening up our ­remaining bastions of pristine wilderness to industrial development. 

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