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Tuesday, October 10, 2017

101.6 Million Americans Participated in Hunting, Fishing & Wildlife Activities

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Survey Preliminary Findings Show Importance of Increasing Access to Public Lands

T he U.S. Department of the Interior announced a new report by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service that shows that 101.6 million Americans—40 percent of the U.S. population 16 years old and older—participated in wildlife-related activities in 2016, such as hunting, fishing and wildlife-watching.

The survey illustrates gains in wildlife watching—particularly around the home—and fishing, with moderate declines in the number of hunters nationally. The findings reflect a continued interest in engaging in the outdoors. These activities are drivers behind an economic powerhouse, where participants spent $156 billion—the most in the last 25 years, adjusted for inflation.

“This report absolutely underscores the need to increase public access to public lands across the United States,” said U.S. Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke. “Hunting and fishing are a part of the American heritage. As a kid who grew up hunting and fishing on public lands who later took my own kids out on the same land, I know how important it is to expand access for future generations. Many folks east of the Mississippi River rely on friends with large acreages or pay high rates for hunting and fishing clubs. This makes access to wildlife refuges and other public lands more important.”

On his first day in office, Secretary Zinke reversed an order that would have banned lead ammo and fishing tackle on National Wildlife Refuge lands, and he began the process of expanding hunting and fishing opportunities on public lands across the Department.

In August, the Secretary announced a proposal to expand hunting and fishing opportunities at 10 national wildlife refuges, and he announced the initial stages of a plan to acquire land to make the Bureau of Land Management Sabinoso Wilderness Area accessible for the first time ever to hunters, hikers and wildlife watchers.

In addition, Secretary Zinke recently made recommendations to President Trump on 27 national monuments that call for changes to some that, while still protecting the land, would also protect and expand public access to that land for citizens who want to hunt, fish and hike and experience the joy and beauty of these special places.

The survey, the 13th in a series conducted nearly every five years since 1955, shows that the most substantial increases in participation involve wildlife-watching—observing, feeding and photographing wildlife. The report indicates these activities surged 20 percent from 2011 to 2016, from 71.8 million to 86 million participants during that time. Expenditures by wildlife watchers also rose sharply—28 percent—between 2011 and 2016, from $59.1 billion to $75.9 billion. Around-the-home wildlife-watching increased 18 percent from 2011, from 68.6 million in 2011 to 81.1 million participants in 2016. More modest gains were made for away-from-home wildlife watchers: 5 percent increase from 2011 to 2016, from 22.5 million to 23 million participants.

More Americans also went fishing. The report indicates an 8 percent increase in angling participation since 2011, from 33.1 million anglers to 35.8 million in 2016. The greatest increases in participation—10 percent—were seen in the Great Lakes area. Total expenditures by anglers nationwide rose 2 percent from 2011 to 2016, from $45 billion to $46.1 billion.

Hunting participation dropped by about 2 million participants but still remained strong at 11.5 million hunters. Total expenditures by hunters declined 29 percent from 2011 to 2016, from $36.3 billion to $25.6 billion. However, expenditures for related items such as taxidermy and camping equipment experienced a 27-percent uptick, and hunting trip-related expenses increased 15 percent.

Regarding the decrease in participation in hunting, Zinke said: “Hunters and anglers are at the backbone of American conservation, so the more sportsmen and women we have, the better off our wildlife will be. Some of our wildlife refuges have great mentored hunting programs. I'd like to see these programs replicated and expanded across the country and reach into areas where kids don't traditionally get the opportunity to hunt, fish and? ?connect with wildlife. Some of my best family time growing up and raising my own kids was hunting an elk, enjoying a pheasant, or reeling in a rainbow. These are the memories and traditions I want to share with future generations.”

“No one does more for our wildlife and or wild places than hunters. Any decline in hunting numbers, real or perceived, is of great concern since hunting provides the lion’s share of funding for nationwide conservation work thanks to excise taxes on firearms, ammunition and archery equipment that garner more than $1.6 annually,” said David Allen, Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation president and CEO. “The RMEF remains committed to growing and ensuring the future of our hunting heritage as well as elk, other wildlife and their habitat.”

This year’s survey also gathered two new categories of data: archery and target shooting. Findings show there are more than 32 million target shooters using firearms and 12.4 million people engaged in archery, not including hunting.

“Hunters and anglers form the foundation of wildlife conservation in the United States, consistently generating more funding for habitat and wildlife management than any other source,” said U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Principal Deputy Director Greg Sheehan. “Industry, federal and state fish and wildlife agency initiatives that focus on hunter and angler recruitment, retention and reactivation are crucial to sustaining these conservation dollars and ensuring the next generation of wildlife enthusiasts have the opportunity, access and awareness to pursue these time-honored American traditions.”

“I praise Secretary Zinke for his support of hunting and land access. The hunting and shooting sports community is grateful for an administration that recognizes the economic, recreational and traditional values of hunting and target shooting," said John Frampton, President and CEO of the Council to Advance Hunting and the Shooting Sports. "Although the numbers of hunters have declined, we are optimistic they will rebound as a result of Secretary Zinke's leadership, state wildlife agencies, non-government organizations and industries working together. Hunting in this country is not only part of our national heritage, it is an important to our country’s economy, as indicated by the expenditures in the survey.”

As a partnership effort with states and national conservation organizations, the survey has become one of the most important sources of information on fish and wildlife recreation in the United States. Federal, state and private organizations use this detailed information to manage wildlife, market products, and look for trends. Conducted by the U.S. Bureau of the Census, the survey is based on a 22,416-household sample surveyed through computer-assisted telephone and in-person interviews.

For more information about the survey and to view the preliminary report, please visit https://wsfrprograms.fws.gov/Subpages/NationalSurvey/National_Survey.htm

Friday, October 06, 2017

New Invaders Found in Pocket Field Guide

The Clean Drain Dry Initiative (CD2), in partnership with the U.S. Forest Service, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, National Professional Anglers Association and the Great Lakes Commission, printed over 10,000 copies for distribution throughout the Great Lake states. Since 2013, 57,000 copies have been printed and distributed through Wildlife Forever’s national partnership network.

White Bear Lake, MN - Wildlife Forever is proud to release the second edition of Invaders of the Great Lakes. The highly popular field guide booklet has been a powerful tool to help identify invasive species and prevent their spread. This edition features new species such as Starry Stonewort and European Buckthorn, both highly destructive to fish and wildlife habitat.

“New species continue to invade and threaten our nation’s resources. We felt it was critical to highlight these new invaders to help educate and inform recreational users of the need for Clean Drain Dry prevention,” said Pat Conzemius, Conservation Director for Wildlife Forever.

Targeting anglers, boaters and hunters to prevent invasive species remains the most cost-effective means for slowing the spread. Resources such as the Invader book and CD2’s comprehensive media and marketing approach, are fundamental to implementing on-the-ground behavior change. Unfortunately, funding cuts to educational programs like the CD2 threatens to erase nearly a decade of educational efforts and progress made through the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative. Concerned sportsment and women are encouraged to contact their natural resource agency and managers to voice support of invasive species conservation education.

The Clean Drain Dry Initiative™ is the national campaign to educate outdoor recreational users on how to prevent the spread of invasive species. Coordinated messaging drives best management practices content, marketing communications and tools on how to prevent. To learn about services available and how you can participate, contact Pat Conzemius, PConzemius@WildlifeForever.org or visit www.CleanDrainDry.org.

Wildlife Forever (WF): Wildlife Forever’s mission is to conserve America's wildlife heritage through conservation education, preservation of habitat and management of fish and wildlife.  For 30 years, WF members have helped to conduct thousands of fish, game and habitat conservation projects across the country. Recent audit results reveal a 94% to mission rating.  To join and learn more about the award-winning programs, including work to engage America’s youth, visit www.WildlifeForever.org.

Why Aren’t Millennials Buying Boats?

Both boaters and those who rely on boating to make a living lament that there doesn’t seem to be as many younger boaters these days. The statistics back that up. According to the recently published BoatUS Magazine feature “Why Aren’t Millennials Buying Boats?” (October 2017), approximately 41 percent fewer 20- to 39-year-olds owned boats in 2015 than in 2005. And while millennials may boat about as much as their parents did, the data confirms they are far less likely to own a boat.

Why? Author and millennial Fiona McGlynn, who is a professional management consultant, may have some answers.

Lower incomes, student debt, lack of technical knowledge or mechanical experience, and a culture shift that eschews conventional ownership in favor of renting take their toll on millennial (born between 1982 and 2000) boat ownership. “Young people are not giving up on boating, just going about it in a different way: chartering, borrowing, and riding along,” says McGlynn, a live-aboard who recently finished her first South Pacific crossing along with her husband, Robin.

While owning a boat can be pricey, McGlynn reports, “I’ve met a number of young boaters finding creative ways to get out on the water without breaking the bank, such as millennials who are participating in cooperatives, who share a boat among friends, or who live aboard a boat instead of renting pricey apartments in major American waterfront cities. Several boaters interviewed for the story mentioned the increasing popularity of wake boats, in part because they carry more people and they’re fun.”

McGlynn ultimately writes that, in general, millennials prefer the sharing economy. She asks, why would you buy a ski house, when all you have to do is Airbnb it? She suggests it’s the same with boats. “20- to 39-year-olds love boating for the same reasons their parents did. They see it as an opportunity to socialize, create family memories, and adventures, and unplug from work. Boating has the potential for a watershed moment among millennials.”

The BoatUS Magazine feature also includes creative tips on how young people with no boating, sailing, or fishing experience can get on the water.
For the full story, go to BoatUS.com/millennials