Torey Vayer does not identify herself as a hunter or angler. She does, however, consider herself a conservationist. Torey grew up in Rockville, Maryland where a love of animals and the outdoors led her to Penn State University to pursue a degree in Biology and a minor in Wildlife and Fisheries Sciences. It was there that she came to understand the important contributions hunters and anglers make to wildlife management, both financially and on the ground.
But for those who are not immersed in wildlife management, hunting, or angling (which happens to be a large portion of the population) this fact is not so obvious. Without foundational background knowledge, it may even seem counterintuitive. That’s where Torey comes in. After Penn State, Torey enrolled at North Carolina State University to obtain a master’s degree in Wildlife, Fisheries. And Conservation Biology with a focus in human dimensions of wildlife where she aims to “lessen the language barrier between scientists and the general public and bridge gaps between humans and nature.” In short, communication is key.
As a part of her master’s thesis, Torey created a film about why America needs hunting where she breaks down how hunting and angling support conservation initiatives.* She encourages people to get involved following the acronym she created, DCAP (Donate, Communicate, Advocate, and Participate). Since hunting and fishing are not suitable for everyone, she proposes alternate ways you can support conservation. Torey stresses that human connection is central to most of these: “a united front of hunters and non-hunters is way more powerful than divided groups arguing for different variations of the same thing.” NC State’s BHA club president, Andrew Howell, makes an appearance in the film highlighting the importance of mentorship in breaking down barriers that exist for new hunters. Torey’s work exemplifies the commonalities hunters and non-hunters often share when it comes to the bigger picture of conservation, public lands, the environment, and wildlife.
In addition to the film, Torey led several Getting Started Outdoors workshops in collaboration with NCSU, BHA, and NCWRC where the goal was to recruit non- and first-time hunters. Though not a hunter herself, she is acknowledging the important role hunters play not only financially and on the ground, but in advocacy surrounding public lands, wildlife, and nature in general. “It's of course valuable to recruit new hunters, but it's equally as valuable to recruit or create hunting advocates. I'd love to increase our non-hunter membership because it's extremely valuable to have multiple perspectives when talking about protecting OUR public lands.”
Enjoy and share her video, “Why America Needs Hunting NOW. Does Hunting Help Conservation?"
*Torey's project was made possible in part by the Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies (AFWA) and the US Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) through USFWS Grant Award Number: F18AP00171.