I don't dispute that hunters/anglers have played an invaluable role in conservation, and still do. But to imply or state outright that they are the primary group doing conservation's heavy lifting is wildly inaccurate. To do so dismisses The Nature Conservancy, an organization that has protected tens of millions of acres in North America and abroad. Scores of local metro parks own and manage many thousands of acres, and many of these agencies are supported by public levies. As hunters constitute only 4-5% of the public, presumably it is the nonhunting conservation community that overwhelmingly supports metro parks, their levies, and all of their conservation work. Along that line, Ohio voters overwhelmingly approved passage of the Clean Ohio Fund in 2000 (again, following the demographics, passed by roughly 95% nonhunters). This 400 million dollar program has resulted in the conservation of tens of thousands of acres. Our federal agencies such as the USFWS and other facets of the Dept. of Interior are funded mostly by the general public's tax dollars, as is the EPA, both federally and on the state level. Legions of nonprofit land trusts, museums, arboretums and other land-owning/managing organizations funded primarily if not nearly exclusively by the nonhunting community do wonderfully effective conservation work, collectively on a major scale. At least one study makes a case that the non-hunting public foots the vast majority (94%) of the bill for conservation, when all things are considered: https://www.wyofile.com/wp-conte…/uploads/2014/…/SMITH-1.pdf
Yes, hunters/anglers' license fees (which they purchase for the right to physically harvest wildlife, which is held in the public trust) do provide much of the funding to state wildlife agencies. But there is FAR more to North American conservation than just those programs.
My position is not anti-hunter, or pro-birder, or any other biased slant - just an interest in the truth about conservation and its funding. And an interest in seeing all parties, no matter their persuasion, do a better job of uniting to help protect more land. And to see all parties who foot the bill for conservation have a voice at the table. Right now, especially in regards to the latter sentence, that's not the case.