U.S. – Russia Part 2: Impact of War on Wildlife Conservation in the United States

Kenny Flermoen - TheInsideSpread

Kenny Flermoen

JUL 18, 2023

karolina-grabowska - Impact of War on Wildlife Conservation - The Inside Spread

Category: Policy

The ongoing rub that Ukraine & Russia war has started continues to evolve by creating tension with the United States. Our aim here is not project if there will be a war between these nations, but what impact of war on hunting and wildlife conservation if conflict deepens. However, we want to hit this hot topic from a hunting and conservation perspective. This series will be discussed from variety angles over the next several weeks. If you have not read part please check it out here: Impact of War on Hunting in the United States Stay tuned to The Inside Spread’s Hunting New page or subscribe below to get these stories sent directly to your inbox.

As American hunters we have deep appreciation for the great outdoors, I’ve come to understand the intricate balance of our ecosystems and the importance of wildlife conservation. It’s a cause that’s often overlooked, especially during times of crisis. One such crisis that can significantly impact conservation efforts is war. War, with its shifting government funding priorities, can potentially affect the US Fish & Wildlife Service’s ability to protect and preserve our nation’s wildlife.

Direct Budget Cuts

The most immediate and noticeable impact of war on wildlife conservation is the potential for direct budget cuts to the US Fish & Wildlife Service. When a nation is at war, its government often reallocates funds to defense and military spending, which can result in reduced funding for non-essential services. As a hunter, I understand the importance of these services, which include maintaining healthy wildlife populations and preserving natural habitats.

These cuts can have a profound impact on the work of the US Fish & Wildlife Service. The agency’s responsibilities are vast, ranging from enforcing wildlife laws and regulations, managing migratory birds, restoring fisheries, conserving and restoring wildlife habitat, and assisting foreign governments with their international conservation efforts. A reduction in funding could hamper these critical services, potentially leading to a decline in wildlife populations and a degradation of their habitats.

Reduction in Excise Tax Revenue

Another potential impact of war on wildlife conservation is the reduction in excise tax revenue. During World War II, for instance, a portion of excise taxes that would typically go to wildlife conservation was redirected to fund the war effort. The Pittman-Robertson Act and Dingell-Johnson Act, which redirect excise taxes on firearms, ammunition, and fishing equipment to state conservation projects, could be affected. As a result, less money would be available for wildlife conservation, potentially impacting the health and diversity of our wildlife populations.


These acts have been instrumental in funding state wildlife conservation projects. The Pittman-Robertson Act, for example, has provided over $2 billion in funding since its inception. A reduction in this funding could have serious implications for state wildlife agencies and the conservation projects they undertake.

Freezing or Slowing Down of Projects

War can also lead to the freezing or slowing down of conservation projects. Resources, both human and financial, may be redirected towards more immediate concerns, causing delays or cancellations in conservation work. This could have long-term effects on wildlife populations and habitats, as conservation efforts are often time-sensitive and require consistent funding and attention.

For instance, many conservation projects involve habitat restoration, which is a long-term, ongoing process. These projects require consistent monitoring and management to be successful. A delay or cancellation of these projects could lead to a loss of progress and potentially irreversible damage to wildlife habitats.

Reduced Public and Private Funding

Public and private donations towards conservation could decrease during times of war as the public’s focus shifts and discretionary income decreases. This could indirectly impact the amount of funding available for wildlife conservation. As hunters, we can play a role in mitigating this impact by continuing to support conservation efforts, even during challenging times.

Public and private funding play a crucial role in wildlife conservation. They provide additional resources that can be used for research, education, and on-the-ground conservation efforts. A reduction in this funding could limit the scope and effectiveness of these efforts.

Inflation and Economic Instability

Additionally, a conflict could potentially lead to increased domestic hunting pressure. If a war resulted in economic hardship, more people might turn to hunting as a source of food. This could lead to overhunting of certain species, further impacting wildlife populations and potentially leading to more stringent hunting regulations.

Lastly, war can lead to economic instability and inflation, which could reduce the real value of the funds allocated to the US Fish & Wildlife Service. This means that even if the nominal amount of funding remains the same, its purchasing power could decrease, effectively reducing the resources available for wildlife conservation.

Inflation and economic instability can have far-reaching effects on wildlife conservation. They can increase the cost of resources, making it more expensive to carry out conservation projects. They can also lead to a decrease in public and private funding, as individuals and organizations may have less disposable income to donate.

It’s important to note that these are possibilities rather than certainties. The actual impact on the US Fish & Wildlife Service would depend on a range of factors, including the length and cost of the war, the government’s priorities, and public opinion.

As hunters, we have a vested interest in the health and diversity of our wildlife populations. We can play a role in supporting wildlife conservation efforts, even during times of war. This could involve continuing to donate to conservation organizations, advocating for the importance of wildlife conservation to our representatives, or volunteering our time and resources to local conservation projects.

War is undoubtedly a challenging time for a nation and its people. However, it’s essential to remember that the decisions we make during these times can have long-lasting impacts on our wildlife and natural habitats. Let’s ensure that our actions today support a future where our wildlife populations continue to thrive.

Remember, the wilderness we enjoy today is a result of the conservation efforts of the past. Let’s do our part to ensure future generations can experience the same. Stay in the know at the The Inside Spread by subscribing below today!

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