For Hunters and Anglers, Conservation a Deeply-Held Value
A new national poll shows sportsmen prioritize protecting public lands above energy production. The poll conducted by Chesapeake Beach Consulting shows threats to America’s conservation heritage are priority issues for sportsmen, on par with gun rights.
“As a hunter and as a board member of the National Wildlife Federation (NWF), I am personally reassured by the results of this poll,” said Jenny Brock, newly elected Chair of the Florida Wildlife Federation (FWF). Regardless of political affiliation, hunters and anglers, many of whom serve as first-line observers of the environment, know that good stewardship of our natural resources is a top priority.
“I am particularly impressed by the strong support shown by the hunter /angler community for using RESTORE Act funds for real restoration of the Gulf, its fish and wildlife populations. Those closest to the disaster realize how important it is to use the BP fines for long-lasting ecological restoration that will make the Gulf sustainable for generations to come,” said Brock.
Participation in wildlife-associated recreation increased in 28 states since 2006, according to the findings of the 2011 National Survey of Fishing, Hunting and Wildlife- Associated Recreation State Overview Report released by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service today. TheState Overview Report is the second in a series of reports to be released by the Service over the next few months highlighting results from the National Survey.
Hunting and fishing are on the rise in the Southeast. In all, an estimated 6,354,000 people took part in hunting, fishing, birding and other wildlife related activities in Florida last year, spending over $9 billion on these pursuits.
“Hunters and anglers tend to be conservative politically, but many are split-ticket and independent voters. What’s clear from this poll is that sportsmen deeply value conservation and believe we have a moral responsibility to confront global warming to protect our children’s future,” said Bob Carpenter, president of Chesapeake Beach Consulting which conducted the poll for the National Wildlife Federation.
Among the poll’s key findings:
- · Sportsmen strongly believe BP should be held accountable and fined the maximum amount allowed for the 2010 Gulf oil disaster (81 percent) and that those funds should be used exclusively to restore the fish and wildlife habitat of the Gulf of Mexico and its fishing and hunting heritage and not for unrelated infrastructure projects such as roads, bridges, ports and convention centers (87 percent).
- · A supermajority say Congress should restore Clean Water Act protections to wetlands and waterways, including smaller creeks and streams, to protect our health and important fish and wildlife habitat (79 percent favor).
- · Two in three sportsmen polled (66 percent) believe we have a moral responsibility to confront climate change and address sea level rise to protect our children’s future. Additionally, 69 percent agree the U.S. should reduce its carbon emissions that contribute to climate change and threaten fish and wildlife habitat.
“Florida’s hunter and angler conservationists care deeply about protecting healthy fish and wildlife habitats and the ability to access and enjoy the outdoors,” says Manley Fuller, president of the Florida Wildlife Federation. “Sportsmen and women vote and it’s important for us to know that our elected officials are committed to habitat protection and restoration, including restoration of the Everglades and the Gulf. Conservationists promote the management of Florida’s natural habitats, protecting public and private conservation lands and support policies that promote our enjoyment of Florida’s environment which also boosts our natural resource based economy.”