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Hunting pastime spikes during pandemic. Conservationists are glad

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  1. skybrian
    From the article: [...] [...] [...]

    From the article:

    Many states saw a dramatic rise in residents taking a hunter safety class for the first time. Some reported growth in young, female and first-time hunters — groups that hunting advocates have been trying to recruit for years, in hopes of slowing the demographic decline. Gun sales also spiked dramatically in 2020, with industry leaders citing both the increase in hunting and concerns about social unrest.


    Due to the pandemic, nearly every state offered hunter safety courses online. Officials said many first-time hunters were probably aided by the convenience of taking training courses at home on their own time. While many states plan to return to in-person instruction this year, they noted that there are no indications the online-only learning has led to more accidents in the field.


    State wildlife agencies are responsible for a great deal of the conservation work and species management in the United States. That includes restoring habitats, managing invasive species, monitoring pollution, recovering at-risk species and tracking wildlife diseases.

    Unlike most agencies, they typically receive very little revenue from tax dollars. Nearly 60 percent of their funding comes from hunting and fishing revenue, including license fees and taxes on gear sales, according to a survey by the Association of Fish & Wildlife Agencies. The years-long decline in hunting license sales has chipped away at their ability to pay for conservation programs.

    Hunters in the United States numbered nearly 17 million in 1980. By 2016, the number had fallen to 11.5 million, according to data from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. That survey found that 90 percent of hunters are male, 97 percent are White and most are 45 and older — a sign that future funding losses could be steep as more hunters age out of the sport and the country becomes more racially diverse.


    Mississippi recently asked hunters to shoot more deer, because herds were growing larger than the habitat could support, a precursor to health issues among the animals. Hunters help scientists track the spread of wildlife ailments such as chronic wasting disease, and they make up an important constituency for the protection of public lands and other conservation efforts.

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