Strong Public Support, Day of Recognition for Hunters and Anglers
NEWTOWN, Conn. - Congress established National Hunting and Fishing Day in 1971 to acknowledge the conservation and economic importance of sportsmen and women.
Now 35 years later, a strong majority of Americans still agree with Congress' message.
Sept. 23 marks the 35th annual National Hunting and Fishing Day. The special day of recognition approaches alongside a new national poll showing a strong majority of Americans 18 and older support hunting and fishing.
In fact, the 2006 survey shows support for hunting has actually increased from 10 years ago.
"We have been seeing public support for hunting increase at state levels, but this is the first nationwide study where we could verify that public support has increased over the past decade. In 1995, 73 percent of Americans approved of hunting. In 2006, 78 percent approved," said Mark Damian Duda, executive director of Responsive Management, which conducted the survey.
Why the increasing support for hunting? Duda says research shows that as Americans learn more about the role of hunting in wildlife management, coupled with a visible increase of deer in urban areas, public support grows.
"Without hunters, many game species would go unmanaged, unbalanced, with populations too high or too low to suit an environmentally conscious America. That was the original message of National Hunting and Fishing Day 35 years ago, and it's gratifying to see it still ringing true in modern society," said Doug Painter, president of the National Shooting Sports Foundation, which founded the annual commemoration.
While approximately three of every four Americans approve of legal hunting, more than nine of every 10 approve of recreational fishing.
The new statistics are based on a scientifically valid sample of 813 Americans. A random telephone survey was conducted between Aug. 31 and Sept. 9, 2006. The margin of error is +/- 3.44 percentage points. Responsive Management conducted the study under a grant from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
National Hunting and Fishing Day has an official home at Wonders of Wildlife, the National Fish and Wildlife Museum and Aquarium in Springfield, Mo. Country music star Tracy Byrd serves as this year's honorary chairman. For more information, visit http://www.nhfday.org/.
Do you approve or disapprove of legal hunting? (2006)
77.6% Approve (45.4% strongly approve, 32.2% moderately approve)
16.3% Disapprove (8% strongly disapprove, 8.3% moderately disapprove)
6.1% Neither approve nor disapprove, don't know
Do you approve or disapprove of legal hunting? (1995)
73% Approve (40% strongly approve, 33% moderately approve)
22% Disapprove (11% strong disapprove, 11% moderately disapprove)
5% Neither approve nor disapprove, don't know
Do you approve or disapprove of recreational fishing? (2006)
93.3% Approve (68.5% strongly approve, 24.8% moderately approve)
5.2% Disapprove (2% strongly disapprove, 3.2% moderately disapprove)
1.5% Neither approve nor disapprove
Do you approve or disapprove of legal fishing? (1995)
95% Approve (65% strongly approve, 30% moderately approve)
3% Disapprove (1% strongly disapprove, 2% moderately disapprove)
2% Neither approve nor disapprove, don't know