Hunting has been on the decline for years, and CNN just reported that the latest numbers are that it’s down another 10% over the last ten years. Hunting in the water, err, I mean fishing, is also down around 15%. And call me crazy, but I don’t believe it’s a coincidence that while hunting and fishing numbers are steadily on the decline, new federal data shows surging numbers of birdwatchers, wildlife photographers and other wildlife watchers. They increased from 62.8 million in 1996 to 71.1 million in 2006.
Of course, as the numbers of hunters and fishers decline, so does the money in state wildlife agencies’ coffers, since most of their revenue comes from hunting and fishing licenses. And of course hunters and the agencies themselves are quick to go into panic mode, saying that “conservation” will suffer if these agencies don’t receive the money from hunting licenses, when in reality the only “conservation” they actually pay for is breeding more animals for hunters to blast into oblivion. So, perhaps it’s time for a policy shift here. I think it makes much more sense that wild areas be paid for out of regular taxes, since they sustain the earth and they are vital to life itself. It should be free and encouraged to watch birds and appreciate nature, and our state wildlife agencies shouldn’t be begging people to go out and kill animals simply so they can stay in business.
Man, it really is a bad time to be a hunter. First, CNN reports these new declining numbers, then the news that hunting may put men’s hearts at risk.
And perhaps most disturbing is the recently released DMGDRO report on the link between hunting and, how shall I put this … diminutive male genitalia, which, now that I think about it, may explain Dick Cheney’s obsession with playing with really big guns . . .