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Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Virginia Hunter Numbers Continue to Decline as National Numbers Show Increase

River Mud has an interesting post looking at this trend.  He notes that preliminary US Fish and Wildlife Service numbers posted for hunting license sales in the United States show a 9% increase nationwide,  while Virginia has continued a downward spiral, with a 5% decrease in Virginia:
Prominently featured in that data is a somewhat surprising 5 year, 9% nationwide increase in the number of licensed hunters nationwide.  A quick study of the data shows that this rise has corresponded temporally with efforts to increase hunter access and recruitment in several heavily populated states such as Maryland, New Jersey, and New York.   Their market research (yes, those states spend money on this stuff) shows not only that hunters spend money when they travel, but often, they bring non-hunters with them, who spend even more money!
He includes a chart that shows the historical decline in Virginia hunter numbers.  In 1968, there were over a 1/2 million licensed hunters.  In 2012, there were a little over 300,000, a little over half of what we had 45 years ago.  This has real consequences as hunting license fees directly support the Virginia Game Department (VDGIF) as well as contibutes to the formula of federal funding that comes to the Commonwealth:
Does VDGIF know that they have a hunter problem that fully translates into a potential 66% decrease in their operating budget?
He makes the pitch for how Sunday Hunting could assist in reversing this trend (a very touchy subject among some in the hunting community).  River Mud promises additional posts on the topic, including DGIF's role in the declining numbers.  If you are interested preserving our hunting traditions, it is an interesting read.

Hat tip to Matt O'Brien.

1 comment:

Mike Donatello said...

My guess would be that this is a direct result of the massive numbers of new residents from the Northeast or other urban centers, where hunting is not as deeply held a tradition. In fact, it's probably a good leading indicator of political change as well. These people tend to be much farther to the left than the typical Virginian was 20 years ago. The irony, of course, is that as they move into VA to escape the messes in places like NY, NJ, or even MD, they wind up bringing here the same attitudes and behaviors (e.g., heavy restrictions on guns, high taxes, etc.) that created the problems in their home states.