A new survey released by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife shows that today only 5% of Americans are actually hunt. That’s 11.5 million people in the U.S. The study only includes people 16 years and older. Even with the U.S. population on the rise, the number of hunters is on the decline. The 5% is half what it was 50 years ago and is on an accelerated downhill trend.
Out of the 11.5 million people, 80% of those hunters went for big game such as deer and turkey while 31% pursued small game like squirrels and rabbits. The other remaining percent went after ducks, geese and other animals.
It’s a very alarming to see the decline in hunters because the conservation of these animals depend on the funding from sportsmen who purchase hunting license annually. State wildlife agencies depend on this money to operate. The funding has become successful in restoring populations of North American game animals, some which were nearly extinct.
With the decline in funding, Congress is looking at other avenues of funding such as tapping into oil and gas revenues. Some states are even thinking of imposing general sales taxes or even monetizing activities like wildlife viewing.
Is the public willing to pay to protect our wildlife?
In Wisconsin, the lack of funding has left staff positions unfilled. Colorado’s wildlife agency has cut tens of millions of dollars and trimmed programs that manage invasive species.