Number of hunters and fishers in U.S. has declined since 1996
Wildlife agencies have been scrambling to make up funding shortfalls in the last few years due at least in part to a drop in the number of hunters and fishers and the revenue-generating licenses they buy. According to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, hunter numbers have declined about 10 percent between 1996 and 2006, down to about 12.5 million from 14 million, due in part to the loss of hunting land to urbanization. Fishing has also taken a 15 percent dive since 1996. Hunting groups and state agencies have been trying to reverse the decline in sportsfolk by attracting new recruits, including kids, at pro-hunting events. But it takes more than a license to get people out in the woods. “You don’t just get up and go hunting one day — your father or father-type figure has to have hunted,” said national hunting expert Mark Damian Duda. Maybe that explains the decline: a conspicuous lack of gun-toting father figures. Wherefore art thou, Charlton Heston?