AR Hunting declining in state and nationwide
Sent to the North Little Rock Times:
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
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
Joe Miele, Vice President
Wildlife Watch, Inc.
New Paltz, NY 12561
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.