KS - Hunting in Decline
To The Editor:
If they could read The Eagle, wildlife would be celebrating the news
that participation in hunting and fishing has been declining nationwide.
While some attribute the decline to people not being as “outdoorsy” as
they used to be, others are coming to the realization that violence
disguised as recreation is nonetheless violence and as such is wholly
unacceptable. As Shakespeare said "What's in a name? A rose by any other
name would smell as sweet."
As the interest in hunting wanes, non-violent wildlife watching has
become the dominant form of wildlife-related outdoor recreation. The
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service reports in its 2006 National Survey of
Fishing, Hunting, and Wildlife-Associated Recreation that over 71
million people spent time observing, feeding and photographing wildlife
last year nationwide, outdistancing the interest in hunting which saw
only 12.5 million participants in that same time period. In Kansas more
than twice as many people participated in wildlife watching than
The time has come to change the way the Kansas Department of Wildlife
and Parks and all state hunting agencies do business by halting the
cycle of managing wildlife populations solely to benefit hunters at the
expense of wildlife, habitat and biodiversity. Let’s replace the taxes
on weapons, ammunition and hunting/fishing equipment and with similar
taxes 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. To protect wildlife and the
areas where they live please visit
Joe Miele, Vice President
Wildlife Watch, Inc.
Wichita Eagle - Sunday, Sep 9, 2007
Hunting numbers decline
BY DAVID CRARY
New figures from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service show that the
number of American hunters 16 and older declined by 10 percent between
1996 and 2006 -- from 14 million to about 12.5 million. The drop was
most acute in New England, the Rocky Mountains, and the Pacific states,
which lost 400,000 hunters in that span.
Kansas showed a decrease of about 5 percent in that time, from 291,000
The primary reasons for the national decline, experts say, are the
loss of hunting land to urbanization plus a perception by many families
that they can't afford the time or costs that hunting entails.
In many states, urbanization has replaced once great habitat.
"We hear concerns about land access," Judy Stokes, New Hampshire Fish
and Game spokeswoman, said. "People grew up hunting -- you went out with
your family, your uncle. And now you go back, and there's a shopping
plaza or a housing development. Some of your favorite places just aren't
Indeed, hunting remains vibrant in many rural states -- 19 percent of
residents 16 and older hunted last year in Montana and 17 percent in
North Dakota. About 12 percent of Kansans 16 and older hunted, compared
with 1 percent in California, Connecticut, Massachusetts and New Jersey.
Nationally, 5 percent of the 16-and-over population hunted in 2006, down
from 7 percent in 1996.
Political support for hunting remains strong, though, with several
states recently enshrining the right in their constitutions.
Last month, President Bush ordered all federal agencies that manage
public lands to look for more room for hunting.
Public support for hunting also is high, in part because huge deer
populations have become a nuisance in many areas. Duda's surveys
indicate less than 25 percent of Americans oppose hunting, although
groups such as People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals denounce it
However, hunting groups and state wildlife agencies are striving to
reverse the decline by recruiting new hunters. Many states, Kansas
included, offer weekends only for children and reserve prime public
areas in an attempt to get more kids into the sport.
Rob Sexton, a vice president of the U.S. Sportsmen's Alliance, said
one upside of the shrinking numbers is that hunting groups are more
motivated to seek remedies, such as access to more land and less
"There are still a lot of us," he said. "Hunting is a great passion
for our people."
Contributing: Michael Pearce of The Eagle.
© 2007 Wichita Eagle and wire service sources. All Rights Reserved.