Why do hunters say they are conservationists?
Hunting is also an ideal way to preserve and conserve the natural environment. This is not as contradictory as you think. Real world examples in Tanzania, South Africa and Mozambique have all shown hunting to be the best way to protect the bounty of nature.
In Mozambique , hunting concessions build roads, provide infrastructure, employment and education to some of the poorest parts of the country. Concession owners are responsible for providing anti-poaching patrols, protecting endangered species and training the local population in conservation.
In South Africa, hunting alone is a Billion Rand industry and has helped to repopulate and continue to protect species such as the white rhino, black wildebeest, bontebok and others. It has been proven consistently that putting a value on the animal has helped preserve animal populations at viable levels allowing the species as a whole to thrive and the environment to remain ecologically balanced.
It comes down to the basics of land use, large populations like those in African countries need natural resources like the land and the game on it. In many places if the land was not controlled by hunting concessions and hunting reserves, the land would be empty, the game trapped and snared for the pot and the land exploited for firewood, mineral deposits and housing.
Hunting gives the wilderness a reason to exist in the modern world. Countries need the revenue that hunters bring and have found that assigning high values to the animals is the best way to stop poaching. In short, limited and ethical hunting is very beneficial to wildlife and conservation in general.
Putting a high value on game species in combination with strong legislation to conserve and protect bio-diversity, while still allowing the consumption of game and use of the land is the solution. Hunting is considered the best use of wilderness land as it produces the best revenues for the land. A hunter will pay top dollar to hunt, whereas an ordinary tourist brings in half that at best estimates.
Let us face simple facts, if the land was not producing high revenues from the hunting tourism industry, it would probably be ploughed up as farm land, built on as homes or barren due to poaching. So hunting and conservation go hand in hand. Really all hunters want their children to hunt in the same places they do and as such see themselves as true guardians of nature.