Sometimes, I think we are our own worst enemy.

By “we,” I mean hunters, fishermen, and other outdoors enthusiasts.

Well-meaning sportsmen establish non-profit organizations dedicated to improving habitat for everything from ducks to pheasants to quail to deer, to trout to billfish and who knows what else. And they do some impressive things and develop some impressive followings.

I applaud their work and the donations that are behind it.

But here’s where I have a problem. With the proliferation of non-profit organizations, there is an increasing competition for the dollar. And fishermen and hunters become  torn on how they will spend their money.

Like me, they generally give to the sport they are most attached to. But if they’re a multi-dimensional sportsmen or women, the slices of pie they donate to given organizations are becoming increasingly small.

I remember a day when there were just a few non-profits representing our interests, and I knew where my donations were going to go. Now there are so many choices.

I guess that’s a good problem. There are so many more organizations fighting for our rights, for building populations of the critters we hunt and fish, for our environment, that we are truly fortunate.

And for the most part, they’re doing a good job with the money we donate. A quick check of shows that most of the organizations I donate to have three or four-star ratings, the highest that can be achieved.

But I can’t help but think that we are unknowingly competing against ourselves. The average American hunter or fisherman has only so much money to donate.

My advise on where to donate:

  • Study on how each organization spends its money — how much of each dollar is spent in the field and how much is spent on administrative costs.
  • I like to make sure that the money I donate is used for at least regional projects — perhaps for habitat work that will one day help hunters in Missouri or Kansas.
  • Study what programs each organizations offer.
  • If you’re older, as I am, donate to organizations that have active youth programs, showing a dedication to helping recruit new participants for our sports.