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C.A.S.H. Letters to the Editor > 2006

C.A.S.H. Letters

AR Hunting declining in state and nationwide

Sent to the North Little Rock Times: http://www.nlrtimes.com/letters_to_the_editor/

9/8/07

To The Editor:

Those concerned about the humane treatment of wildlife are celebrating the news that hunting has been declining within Arkansas as well as 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 Arkansas Game and Fish Commission 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. The U.S. Census Bureau reports that between 1996 and 2006, the number of aged 16 and older who hunted dropped by 6.4 percent.

While the long-term outlook for hunting and fishing is bleak, the Commission can look toward wildlife watching, the wildlife-related outdoor pursuit of choice, as the future of wildlife management and protection. Wildlife watching in Arkansas increased an astounding 30.5 percent during the time when interest in hunting and fishing has been waning

Wildlife watching has the ability to support a more robust economy than the current one which is dependent on bloodshed and violence. Let’s replace the taxes on weapons, ammunition and hunting/fishing equipment and replace it with a similar tax on outdoor-related equipment such as binoculars, backpacks, and cameras used by wildlife watchers. Funds collected from these alternate taxes 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. 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.

To protect wildlife and the areas where they live please visit www.wildwatch.org .

Joe Miele, Vice President
Wildlife Watch, Inc.
Box 562
New Paltz, NY 12561

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The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette Monday carried an AP report about a new Fish and Wildlife Service survey that showed a decline in fishing and hunting nationwide. The article included a comment that Arkansas hunters and fishermen were “bucking the national trend” because the state still ranks high in participation rates.

Not really. You can rank high but still have declining participation, a troubling indicator for fishing and hunting license fees during a period when Arkansas population was increasing. The report, available from the Census Bureau, shows that in 1996, 494,000 Arkansans aged 16 and older fished. Ten years later, the survey put the number at 461,000, a decline of 6.7 percent. In hunting, the number dropped from 329,000 in 1996 to 308,000 in 2006, a 6.4 percent drop. (The decline in the numbers of people from all states fishing and hunting in Arkansas dropped even more sharply.) Wildlife watching in Arkansas continued to increase, from 658,000 participants in 1996 to 859,000 in 2006, a 30.5 percent rise.

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C.A.S.H.
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Anne Muller - President

 

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