It’s that time of the year already, the last weekend of the year. Maybe as I’m writing this you’re already sitting in your duck or goose blind, maybe you’re planning that last deer hunt of the year looking for something a little bit more meaty than the tag soup I’ve got stocked up.
For me as I sit here drinking coffee and reviewing the year it’s also time for me to re-up most of my memberships for what I like to call “save the critter foundations”. I’m a big proponent of conservation organizations, and belong to a couple. In recent years my wife and I have been fortunate to have been able to donate to a few places. We maintain memberships to the Ruffed Grouse Society, Backcountry Hunters and Anglers, and last year I became a life member of Pheasants Forever. They serve as contributions to organizations we really care about, and in return we get magazines, newsletters, and most importantly an impact to the environment and the species we hold dear.
As a side benefit most of the memberships are also tax deductible which has it’s own appeals when added to our yearly donations to Goodwill. This year I will once again look towards a lifetime membership to another conservation organization, some are quite steep and lead you to wonder what it is that they do with all of that money. You have to do your research for the organization you’re looking to support. Some of them spend quite a lot of money on suing other conservation organizations because their goals are inherently at odds with others. For example the Ruffed Grouse cannot exist without new forest growth, you rarely find them in old growth forests because they rely on early successional growth and the understory. In order to achieve that, you need to conduct select cut timber harvest, execute a controlled burn, or some other method of clearing needs to occur. You can look up how money is spent by the organization using ProPublica’s Nonprofit Explorer. I’ve had good luck in the past researching places we’d like to make a donation to, but tend to stick to known quantities.
So while you may still be in a giving mood this holiday season, consider a gift or a membership to one of the many “save the critter” foundations, even if it’s the $35 for a yearly membership. The Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation coined the phrase “Hunting is conservation!”, why not do a little extra?