We’re all inundated with data these days, but two national reports came across my desk recently that I recommend reading. Since many of us are in the business of promoting the benefits of hunting, fishing and wildlife watching, it’s helpful to know the most current information. Both reports are short and won’t take much time to peruse.
You are probably familiar with the National Survey of Fishing, Hunting, and Wildlife-Associated Recreation. It’s a partnership effort with state agencies and national conservation organizations, and it’s one of the most important sources of information on fish and wildlife recreation in the United States. The preliminary report has just been issued, with the final report set to be released in December.
Takeaways include the following:
- In 2016, 101.6 million Americans 16 years old and older, 40 percent of the U.S. population, enjoyed some form of fishing, hunting or wildlife-associated recreation.
- More than 35.8 million Americans went fishing in 2016, while 11.5 million hunted and 86 million watched wildlife. This means that 14 percent of Americans 16 years of age or older fished, 5 percent hunted and 35 percent participated in wildlife watching.
- These sportsmen and women spent $41.7 billion on equipment, $30.9 billion on trips, and $7.8 billion on licenses and fees, membership dues and contributions, land leasing and ownership, and plantings for hunting. On average, each sportsperson spent $2,034 in 2016.
You can read or download the preliminary report here: https://wsfrprograms.fws.gov/Subpages/NationalSurvey/National_Survey.htm
The State of the Birds 2017 report, released recently by the North American Bird Conservation Initiative (NABCI), documents the many benefits the Farm Bill has delivered to birds, farmers and rural communities.
- Before 1990, wetland birds and waterfowl were on the decline, trending downward by 10 percent a year. Since wetland easements were added to the Farm Bill, those populations have soared 51 percent.
- Before the forestry title was added to the Farm Bill in 1990, forest birds were on a declining trend and down by 19 percent. After 1990, the decline leveled off and then rose slightly, by 3 percent.
- Grassland birds were experiencing long-term declines by the time the Conservation Reserve Program began in 1985. Declines eventually stabilized, and after grassland easements were added to the Farm Bill in 2003, populations rose by 3 percent.
You can download or read the report here: www.stateofthebirds.org/2017