Hunting is an outdoor pastime, promoting stewardship of the environment as well as healthy lifestyles of eating wild game and physical exertion required for the activity. Hunting is recognized as an important wildlife management tool.
Without hunters, we would experience severe overpopulation and explosions of disease, habitat depredation, and starvation. Hunters provide the primary support for wildlife management, both game and non-game animals. License fees, excise taxes on hunting arms and ammunition, as well as the direct economic effects of hunting in the United States alone exceed $14 billion annually. Indirect effects have been estimated conservatively in excess of $40 billion annually. Although hunting provides a huge economic benefit to the state, that is not its only benefit. Hunting is a recreational activity. Many participants expand time afield by training dogs, shooting, spending time observing or photographing wildlife, or scouting their favorite hunting areas for seasonal prospects. Although hunting involves the potential harvesting of game, its participants are lovers of natural settings and the wildlife that good habitat provides.
Competition has a place in 4-H S.A.F.E. as a celebration of the life skills (teamwork and communication) and essential elements (mastery, independence, belonging and generosity) that have occurred within the context of a 4-H S.A.F.E. club setting. Education and positive youth development, not competition, should drive 4-H S.A.F.E. clubs. Each shooting sports discipline offers a state championship event, and the first place senior team may be eligible to attend the National 4-H Shooting Sports Championship. Alabama 4-H also offers a summer invitational tournament series as part of the Buckmasters Expo in Montgomery.