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cdestroyer
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PostSun Dec 22, 2019 7:33 am 
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I dont know if this is the proper place for the article or not. admin can move it if desired.

https://www.npr.org/2018/03/20/593001800/decline-in-hunters-threatens-how-u-s-pays-for-conservation
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Malachai Constant
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PostSun Dec 22, 2019 8:04 am 
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I think that is what the Discover Pass was intended to remedy. For years one of the main benefits of a license was access to wildlife parking areas and boat ramps. Topic could only get contentious if folks got too much into gentrification of the woods and start throwing rocks.

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Bernardo
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PostSun Dec 22, 2019 12:09 pm 
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Article seems like it was designed by a lobbying group seeking to develop new revenue sources for land and wildlife conservation.  That could be a good cause, but the article does seem to clearly have a purpose and it is not to describe, lament, or celebrate the dwindling numbers of hunters.  My inclination would be to make conservation a general revenue priority, but that's unlikely so most likely fees will increase over time.  One thing the article does not address is how declining hunting, aside from loss of revenue, will affect wildlife.
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cdestroyer
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PostSun Dec 22, 2019 4:24 pm 
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bernardo said"One thing the article does not address is how declining hunting, aside from loss of revenue, will affect wildlife."..

I thought this explained the need for revenue,,

State wildlife agencies and the country's wildlife conservation system are heavily dependent on sportsmen for funding. Money generated from license fees and excise taxes on guns, ammunition and angling equipment provide about 60 percent of the funding for state wildlife agencies, which manage most of the wildlife in the U.S.

This user-play, user-pay funding system for wildlife conservation has been lauded and emulated around the world. It has been incredibly successful at restoring the populations of North American game animals, some of which were once hunted nearly to extinction.
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PostSun Dec 22, 2019 4:48 pm 
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It didn't come across to me as something from some lobbying group at all, but rather as an accurate and thoughtful overview of an issue that is affecting not only Wisconsin, but almost every state in the Union.

Perhaps it needs to be pointed out here that the Washington State Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) has been forced every year for the last several years to go hat in hand to the Washington State Legislature and beg for money to cover their operational expenses.

As with fishing licenses, sales of hunting licenses have declined significantly over the course of the last two or three decades (in Washington State), for a variety of reasons. Certainly those "reasons" may be subjects of debate, but the bottom line is that budget shortfalls equate to fewer boots on the ground for enforcement officers, resulting in unconscionable events like the "Kill 'em all boyz" group that was finally nailed by WDFW a couple years ago.

Want wildlife? You need hunters out there. Theodore Roosevelt understood that. Gifford Pinchot understood that.
How unfortunate that so few understand the larger picture today.

(* In the interests of full disclosure: I do not hunt.*)

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Bernardo
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PostSun Dec 22, 2019 7:41 pm 
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The article basically says that revenues are going to decline because hunting license sales will decline.  It doesn't provide any evidence that revenues from hunting licenses have actually declined yet.  It's possible current shortfalls may be due to expenditures growing faster than licence revenues.  The author clearly is attempting to convince readers that hikers, bird watchers, wildlife viewers should pay more.  Maybe that's ok, but I'd prefer more straight talk and less advocacy for a particular point of view.  With regard to wildlife, the author does make the point that the U.S. system of licences and fees saved wildlife in the United States.  This is extrapolated to the rest of the world with no examples provided.  I recall back in the day Robin Hood had to deal with strict hunting regulations so I am not sure we invented the concept of game management.  The problem back in the 1880s when our licencing system got started is that everyone was blasting away at everything with anbandon and this was leading to the near extirpation of wildlife.  Now hunting is highly regulated and wildlife has recovered.  If hunting remains regulated and the number of hunters drop, I don't see a disaster for wildlife due to less hunting licence revenue.  If there is one, the article doesn't explain what it would be.  Are we going to have less deer and bear because people stop paying for hunting licences?  Less revenue could limit management activities, but how that affects the animals was not explained.

The article is interesting in that it highlights a demographic trend (those are always interesting) and predicts there will be less hunting.  The thread title highlights that the number of hunters is dropping, but the article itself is actually about advocating for higher fees for hikers.

Note: Just reread the article and I got it right: it's a propaganda piece.  Maybe it's for a good cause, but it's still propaganda.  The last line is a classic.
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Sky Hiker
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PostSun Dec 22, 2019 8:16 pm 
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I doubt the the kind of revenue derived from hunters can even remotely be generated by other user groups. Plus all the volunteer hours put in by hunters. The are the true conservationists IMO.
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Pyrites
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PostMon Dec 23, 2019 12:44 am 
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Some places I hunted near Longview decades ago are covered with houses. Weyerhaeuser passed out road maps, instead of charging well more than a grand to access. You could drive anywhere in the Wilipas’ that didn’t have active logging underway. St Helens wasn’t a monument. No Trespass signs weren’t a way of life. Bow hunters and black powder didn’t have complete access in weeks before modern firearms.

Of course there are fewer licenses sold.

Best.

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Dave Workman
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PostMon Dec 23, 2019 4:39 am 
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This could be politically incorrect.

Too bad.

Most, if not all, fish and wildlife agencies are largely dedicated fund agencies. Their major revenue sources are license and tag fees paid by hunters and anglers.

Then there is also the Pittman-Robertson, Dingell-Johnson and Wallop-Breaux revenues from federal excise taxes on hunting and fishing gear and even boats.

So we narrow it down to hunting/wildlife. The Pittman-Robertson fund, which generates revenue from the sale of firearms and ammunition, has raised billions of dollars that are apportioned annually to wildlife agencies. The fund is also known as Federal Aid to Wildlife Restoration and is administered by USFWS.

Like it or not, all those guns and ammunition people buy—not just for hunting but for competition, recreational shooting, personal-protection; all kinds of stuff—supports the P-R fund and wildlife activities. Some of this money is used for shooting range development and hunter education.

One can check the annual reports from USFWS on the amount of money sent to the states. It's a bunch!

One problem with all of this is the added expenses, especially in the West and along the Northern Tier states, for wolf management and mitigation, plus the lawsuits and additional related expenses that have popped up over the years. And land acquisition. Let's not forget that.

The agencies call this habitat acquisition, and nowadays agencies with all that public land have to manage for non-hunting related activities including hiking, camping, ORV play (and the inherent wildlife-related impacts), etc. that really didn't exist 100 years ago.

There is much truth to the principle that if you want to save a species, put a season on it. Hunters will make sure there are huntable populations. It may take years or even decades, but hunters are always at the spear tip. Just look at elk, whitetail deer, wild turkeys, waterfowl, wild sheep, mountain goats (the Olympic goats were released there to provide huntable populations before the national park was created with some damned fool not thinking that one through!) etc.

So not only are hunters the first conservationists, but gun owners, whether they buy a shotgun or an AR-15 or a handgun all kick into that pot.

Bird watchers, hikers, star gazers and an assortment of non-contributing users really don't.

And now the dilemma: Hunters expect some genuine opportunity and reasonable expectation of success for the money they spend. Shorter seasons, impacts on game populations by predators, conflicts with non-hunters on the public land all have impacts on those opportunities. People aren't going to pay for an opportunity that really isn't there.

Hunters don't really care for conflict. They want to be left alone. So does the wildlife. While you're out there noisily tramping through the forest primeval, you're disturbing the wildlife. At the wrong time of year, that interrupts breeding, may impact winter survival, and so forth, and wanting wolves all over the landscape for example has a direct impact on herd populations and calf/fawn survival.

Since they provide the bulk of money for wildlife, hunters and their interests (healthy game  populations) deserve that consideration.

All of that said, the answer is yes, there are fewer hunters, being asked to pay more to keep up with wage and benefits for fish and game agency employees, equipment, land acquisition and maintenance. And because of that, there is the potential wildlife could suffer.

Human encroachment is another problem. There is a finite amount of land. People can't be allowed to live on all of it. Houses and development on the Sammamish plateau, for example, have destroyed or severely impacted what used to be habitat.

Everybody getting this?

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PostMon Dec 23, 2019 5:03 am 
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Thank you very much, Dave.
You've articulated it much better than I would have been able to do. up.gif

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timberghost
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PostMon Dec 23, 2019 5:28 am 
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Very well said Dave
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Dave Workman
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PostMon Dec 23, 2019 7:44 am 
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And to help explain things a bit more...

https://www.deeranddeerhunting.com/articles/deer-news/more-deer-killed-by-wolves-than-by-hunters-in-2019?fbclid=IwAR36MZZHTbYsgsfJTzNVTF14WriwGfRHR-ETrinLpOYLjGo1rEJjLKzuGHs

This is an interesting read.

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treeswarper
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PostMon Dec 23, 2019 8:05 am 
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I grew up fishing.  There is a picture somewhere of me, in diapers and with a bulky life jacket on holding a fishing pole while walking on a dock.  I caught my first fish in Lake Kachise.  We used bait and ate the fish.  My uncle taught me to fly fish in Douglas Creek when I was in high school.  I spent hours fishing that creek and catching lots of willows and other assorted brush. 

I also hunted pheasant a few years.  The reason for that was that I had a great bird dog for a while.   I could just walk out the back door of my folk's house and start hunting in the field of a farmer who didn't always plant something every year.  I quit when he leased that out and it was posted and farmed and my dog discovered that it was more fun to hunt gophers than birds.  I see signs along some of the highways to Keep Out as the land is leased by a shooting club.  Highway 2 used to have rampant pheasant road kill.  You don't see that now. 

I don't fish anymore because all the regulations made it too complicated to keep track of what was legal and what was not.  I've never hunted for deer or elk because I am too lazy and it is hard work to get one, not to mention the butchering and packing out.  I do love elk meat though.

I don't consider the article to be "propaganda".  It is factual, as far as I know. I am surprised that it is set in Wisconsin, where hunting seemed to be a religion and white tails are called big rats.  The little town I lived in was going to have bow hunting allowed because the population of deer in town was getting out of hand and encounters with cars were increasing.

Remember, our state wildlife budget has to cover the wolf problem.  Helicopters are expensive.  If the grizzly program goes through, they'll need a bigger budget.  The bears don't care about lines drawn on a map.

Having worked in the woods, I didn't like having to deal with hunters, or taking extra precautions during elk season, but those folks kept the wildlife wild.  I never was attacked by a bear or coyote or...    My theory is that if there is no hunting, wildlife becomes less afraid of people and problems are going to occur.    Look at how it is in the big National Parks if you don't believe this.

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treeswarper
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PostMon Dec 23, 2019 8:16 am 
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Dave Workman, I am wondering what the Chronic Wasting Disease does to wolves? 

In fact, that may be another factor why deer hunting is declining.  When I lived in Bayfield County, hunters were encouraged to have their deer meat tested before eating it. 

I did see wolves running across the highway, and heard them howling one evening while I was out kayaking along the Lake Superior shoreline.  This was around 2004 and loggers were starting to report seeing wolves more.  One made the local paper as he noticed a wolf approaching his dog, so he called the dog, loaded it into his machine, and left the area.  Another reported a pair watching him cut.  He was in a processor.  90% of the logging in that area was mechanized--guys in machines, not on the ground.  The local public radio station would tell people where areas of wolf activity were and warn us to stay away, especially if we had dogs.  You were encouraged to not go hiking in those areas.

Another reason for the hunting decline in Up Nort Wisconsin might be that at the same time, the Forest Service let it be known that ATVs would be restricted to designated trails and roads.  One hunter told me he had no idea how he would get his deer out of the woods without his ATV.   We Out Westerners would laugh because it was flat ground with what we would consider to be densely roaded, but to him, it was a real problem.  I suggested getting a horse, but that was not what he wanted to hear.

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Ski
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PostMon Dec 23, 2019 8:18 am 
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Dave Workman wrote:
This is an interesting read.

Indeed.
A harbinger of things to come locally?  dizzy.gif

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