North American Bison – the Animal that Triggered a Movement

Today’s blog post comes from Shane Mahoney of Boone and Crockett Country.

All significant movements in man’s history can be traced to an event or undesirable outcome that triggered a rallying cry for change. Wars can be linked to an event that lit the powder keg. New laws and entire cultural shifts began with a trigger. A crisis is another great motivator for change.

In North America we have seen many such triggers for change – movements that sprang up out of necessity. When all is said and done we are left with symbols that represent what started it all, and how far we have come.

As sportsmen who care about wildlife and the environment, we need to look no further than one of these symbols for change that represents why we still have wildlife with us, and the opportunity to hunt them. I am talking about the great North American Bison.

North American Bison

North American Bison

From millions of animals down to literally a few hundred in less than three decades, this destruction was a national disaster. The plight of the American Bison, the icon of the West, is well documented and well known. What has escaped many of us though is the fact that this one animal triggered the greatest conservation and wildlife recovery movement in the history of mankind.

This week on Boone and Crockett Country we will celebrate this great animal and relearn what we have learned about ourselves, and the lands we call home.

“Wildlife as the enemy to progress,” or “take as much as we want” – clearly we have learned from our mistakes of the past, or have we? We are taking better care of wildlife today for sure, but some still remain in the crosshairs of human progress. It’s not a full out slaughter like the bison, but some wildlife is still collateral damage. The question is, is it up to sportsmen again to lead the charge to ensure our wildlife gets a fair shake? Personally, I believe so. I would much rather it be hunters and anglers than animal activist groups.

Shane Mahoney