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C.A.S.H. Letters

Number of Hunters and Anglers Down Nationwide

250 wds to The Republican American, Waterbury, CT

http://www.rep-am.com/shared-content/perform/?domain_name=rep-am.com&form_template=letters

9/8/07

To the Editor:

Those concerned about the humane treatment of wildlife are celebrating the news that hunting and fishing has been steadily declining nationwide. Far from a temporary setback, the decline in the number of hunters and anglers has been taking place over the past twenty years. The state DEP’s Bureau of Natural Resources Wildlife Division is worried about this trend because it is funded through the sale of hunting and fishing licenses, as well as the collection of excise taxes affixed to the price of weapons, ammunition, and related equipment.

While the long-term outlook for hunting and fishing is bleak, the Division can look toward wildlife watching, the wildlife-related outdoor pursuit of choice, as the future of wildlife management and protection. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service recently reported that over 71 million people spent time observing, feeding and photographing wildlife in 2006, dwarfing the number of hunters which stands at only 12.5 million.

T.A. Heberlein and E.J. Thomson, experts on hunting demographics at the University of Wisconsin, predicted that by 2050 sport hunting could very well become extinct. So far, their words sound prophetic.

Let’s replace the taxes on weapons, ammunition and hunting/fishing equipment and replace it with a similar tax on outdoor-related equipment used by wildlife watchers. Funds collected can be dedicated toward the protection and preservation of wildlife and the areas where they live, making the need to depend on hunting, weapons and violence obsolete. To protect wildlife and the areas where they live please visit www.wildwatch.org

Joe Miele, Vice President

Wildlife Watch, Inc.

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http://www.rep-am.com/articles/2007/09/08/news/282912.txt 

Saturday, September 8, 2007 4:19 AM EDT

Hunting spirit fading away

WOLCOTT -- A decade ago, Sportsman's Outpost owner Michael Cortigiano turned away many shotgun toting men who lined up at his door for a chance at one of 15 one-day permits to hunt on several hundred acres of woodland managed by the Bristol Fish & Game Association.

"Now we're lucky if we give out 15 in a day," Cortigiano said.

A recent report by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service shows the popularity of hunting and fishing is quickly declining across the country, but in few places as sharply as in the Northeast.

Since 1996, the number of hunting and fishing licenses issued by Connecticut has dropped 16 percent, down to 163,161 last year. That's 31,417 fewer hunters and anglers.

Forests are rapidly being carved up by development. One state study showed a 10 percent decrease in forest land between 1985 and 2002. Farms are also on the decline. Lives are more hectic: Children have less time for the outdoors and parents have less time to teach them.

"Our grandfathers and grandfathers' grandfathers hunted, that's all they did," Cortigiano said. "Now people have time constraints, financial constraints and both parents working. There isn't as much time to do that stuff."

Animal rights groups welcome the ongoing decline, which began about 20 years ago.

"These are people who have a perverse interest in making wildlife dead," said Priscilla Feral, president of Friends of Animals, an international group with headquarters in Darien. "What it means is the government (policies promoting hunting) will eventually change because people are opting out. We will see trapping eliminated and eventually hunting."

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