A sport hunting crises is unfolding. Hundreds of thousands of North American waterfowl hunters have disappeared since 1970. This poses a threat for the future of hunting and conservation. We need more waterfowlers, and so do the ducks. Duck hunters buy federal duck stamps, an important funding source for waterfowl conservation. The spring issue of Delta Waterfowl magazine has a 10-page Special Report that analyzes this problem.
Among the Special Report’s findings: There were 2.03 million active U.S. waterfowlers in 1970, and only 998,600 in 2015. The steepest declines have occurred since 1997, despite high duck populations, longer hunting seasons and liberal bag limits. Canada’s waterfowler numbers have fallen even more drastically, peaking in 1978 at 505,681 and declining to fewer than 170,000 today.
This trend should alarm anyone who cares about waterfowl hunting and wetland conservation. “We tell folks to support conservation – to replace the ducks they shoot every year,” said John Devney, vice president of U.S. Policy for Delta Waterfowl. “We should also be telling them that you must replace yourself as a duck hunter. It’s as important as buying a federal duck stamp.”
The entire Special Report is also posted at www.deltawaterfowl.org/looming-crisis.
Delta Waterfowl Foundation is “The Duck Hunters Organization”, a leading conservation group working to produce ducks and ensure the tradition of duck hunting in North America. Visit deltawaterfowl.org.