In addition to donations by Triton and Mercury of boats and motors for use in rescue efforts, outdoor mega-suppliers Bass Pro Shops and Cabela's also ponied up items for evacuees such as tents, boots, sleeping bags, water and other goods.
The nation's hunting and conservation organizations also rushed to help. The National Wild Turkey Federation gave $50,000 to help in the four states hit by Katrina, while Ducks Unlimited has pledged to work with its partners and provide $15 million to restore wetlands damaged by the storm.
Farmers and Hunters Feeding the Hungry (fhfh.org) has begun efforts to organize donations of game meat to be delivered to those displaced by the storm. Meanwhile, hunters looking to donate meat can also check out NRA's on-line Hunters for the Hungry Clearinghouse (nrahq.org/hunters), a state-by-state listing of groups who coordinate donations of game to people in need.
The one-two punch of hurricanes Katrina followed by Rita has been devastating to both the region's wildlife and fisheries. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration declared the gulf region a disaster area as the storms resulted in a complete shutdown of the commercial fishing industry due to flooding, damaged boats and marinas, clogged waterways and closed processing facilities. The charter and recreational fishing industry faired no better. Meanwhile, huge fish die-offs were witnessed as salt water was blown miles inland during both Katrina and Rita inundating freshwater swamps and canals.
Between sunken boats and floodedd oil refineries, damage from oil-polluted waters was extensive. NOAA reported more than 1,000 pollution incidents in Alabama, Mississippi and Louisiana alone. Meanwhile, the Coast Guard estimated more than 7 million gallons of petroleum may have been spilled in the gulf along the Louisiana coast.
Damage to gulf state refuges and parks were massive. Katrina was blamed for causing as much as $90 million in damages to federal wildlife refuges alone in Lousiana, while Rita's destruction was placed at $41.7 million.
Louisiana wildlife authorities say Hurricane Rita has turned the Sabine National Wildlife Refuge from 125,000 acres of pristine marshland into "a brown, dying marsh littered with metal chemical tanks, refrigerators and shattered houses." It is one of three federal refuges in southwest Louisiana that remains closed to hunting, much to the dismay of many irate sportsmen who typically hunt the land.