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Hunting plays vital role both in health of wildlife population and economically

Archery and muzzleloader seasons for bears began statewide this past Saturday. General statewide bear season runs from Nov. 20 to Nov. 23.

We agree with the International Association for Bear Research and Management that “regulated hunting can be an important and beneficial tool in management of bear populations.” As a 2017 study by the association noted, regulated bear hunting helps curb growing bear populations of interactions between bears and people that drive negative perceptions about wildlife populations and conservation. Allowing the hunting of bears reduces the chances of bears approaching people, rummaging through neighborhood trash cans and lumbering onto roadways where they can cause traffic accidents.

Hunting gives residents a stake in habitat conservation, which is important as the loss of habitat is likely the biggest threat to wildlife numbers. It brings balance to the size of an animal population and what the habitat can support and limits the spread of diseases between animals, the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation notes.

Hunting is also an economic boon to rural communities. The National Wildlife Federation argues that almost 681,000 jobs are supported through hunting. The jobs sustained by hunting range from manufacturing to retail to hotels and dining. The foundation also says about $5.4 billion in revenue is generated for local and state governments. The revenues from hunting licenses and other fees often is earmarked for important conservation projects, freeing up other tax revenue for infrastructure, education and other community needs.

Beyond the tangible impact of hunting, it is a tradition that binds families across generations and is part of the rural identity and character of central Pennsylvania.

Hunting is important as a tradition and for families. It is important for the economy. It’s important to conservation efforts and preserving wildlife populations. And so we wish all hunters the best of luck as they partake in an important aspect of rural life.

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