Hunters and Fishers: Conservationists and Stewards of the Land

wild turkeyDuring the past several years I have seen an increasing number of attacks on people like me, who enjoy hunting, fishing and who consider themselves to be both conservationists and stewards of the land.

The common argument has been that a hunter is just out to kill an animal for the pure enjoyment of it. Nothing could be farther from the truth. When a hunter decides to kill an animal, it is not a decision that is taken lightly and, in most cases, has been a culmination of a long period of preparation and investment in the environment.

Most people who advocate for the banning of hunting do not realize the impact it would have on both the environment directly and to the funding of conservation and environmental projects. No other group in the history of this country had asked the legislature to tax the tools and equipment necessary for their pursuit, but hunters and fishers did so in the 1937 Pittman-Robertson Federal Aid in Wildlife Restoration Act and the 1950 Dingell-Johnson Sport Fish Restoration Act.

By voluntarily agreeing to be subject to this excise tax, hunters and fishers ensured that wildlands would have a funding source. Some of the items that fall under the tax are: fishing equipment (10%), firearms (10-11%), ammunition (11%), archery equipment (11%), import duties on boats (1-2.7%), import duties on fishing equipment (3.7-9.2%), and taxes on boat fuel.

Additionally, hunters and fishers submit to additional taxes every year when they purchase their hunting and fishing licenses.

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Hindsight into My Legal Education: Respect the Past But Look Toward the Future

Ben and son fishing
Ben and his son, fishing on Pewaukee Lake.

While looking back on how I came to law school and why I came to law school, I have come to believe that law school is both one of the best choices I have ever made and one of the worst.

This may seem like a statement that the law school will not want conveyed but it is true for me. While many if not most law students either dream about being lawyers or working in a career field that requires a law degree, I have never actively imagined myself to be a lawyer. Instead I view law school as a means to an end.

Continue ReadingHindsight into My Legal Education: Respect the Past But Look Toward the Future