The Economist reports that fewer people are hunting in the U.S.: The declining Nimrod (Nov 8)
...A decade ago some 14m Americans hunted. Today about 12.5m do, a drop of 10%. Even in states where the tradition is strongest, the numbers are down. In Wyoming, which teems with antelope, 69,000 hunters prowled the hills and rangelands in 1996; only about 50,000 will do so this year.
Why the drop? Many reasons are offered: fewer places to hunt thanks to development; reduced game numbers in some areas as resurgent cougars, bears and wolves grab their share; and busy schedules. The young, in particular, seem to prefer to stay by their computers rather than waiting in the freezing cold, to get a shot at an elk. And ranchers who once allowed hunters on their land for nothing now need the money, and may charge hundreds of dollars.
Ironically, the decline in hunting may not benefit wildlife. Hunters buy licences that typically cost up to $260 for the season. In Wyoming, as in other states, licence fees comprise 90% of the Fish and Game Department's $50m budget, which pays for scores of wildlife biologists and game wardens. Across most of the country animals such as deer and elk are far more common than they were a century ago....
Set this next to the decline in camping in U.S. national parks: Where are the campers? (Ben Muse, Oct 24) and the increase in cruise ship visits to Alaska: Cruising to Alaska (Ben Muse, Oct 07) - two alternative ways of experiencing nature.