New report shows fishers and hunters support conservation as much as gun rights

Fishing at Rocky Mountain National Park

Flikr Creative Commons: krossbow

A new national survey reveals that sportsmen and sportswomen think protecting public lands, getting kids outdoors and dealing with climate change are just as important as energy production and gun rights. 

The survey of hunters and anglers showed Hunters and anglers were shown to agree on a number of issues, regardless of political affiliation:

  • 79% favor restoration of the Clean Water Act protections to wetlands and waterways to protect our health and important fish and wildlife habitat.

  • 87% of hunters and anglers believe it is a serious problem that children today are not spending enough time outdoors and 91% are concerned that this lack of connection to nature is a threat to the future of wildlife conservation.

  • 79% of these hunters and anglers want access to public lands that to date have been inaccessible.

  • 88% agree that when the federal government leases public lands for drilling, they should consider other priorities including fishing and hunting, protection of wildlife habitat and clean air and water.

  • 84% want the federal government to make it a priority to conserve fish and wildlife habitat and manage public lands for fishing, hunting and other outdoor recreation.

  • 72% agree that we can improve the environment and strengthen the economy by investing in renewable energy technologies that create jobs while reducing pollution.

  • 81% of hunters and anglers agree that BP should be fined the maximum amount for the 2010 oil spill and required to restore the Gulf to ensure the recovery of fish and wildlife populations.

On more politically divisive issues, hunters and anglers still largely support conservation as much as other interests. When given a choice between protecting public lands and fossil fuel production, half choose to protect public lands and only a third choose energy production. Nearly half think conservation is as equally important as gun rights, and 13 percent think it is more important.

When it comes to climate change, the majority of sportsmen agree that it is an undeniable truth. In addition:

  • 66% agree "We have a moral responsibility to confront global warming to protect our children’s future."

  • 69% think that the U.S. should reduce its carbon emissions.

  • 57% want the federal government to limit carbon dioxide pollution.

These results in particular may not be too surprising given that sportsmen, like many of us, rely on public lands for clean air, fresh water, and recreation. They witness nature on a regular basis, so understand its true value and likely have seen evidence of climate change themselves. But they also often reap another benefit of these lands - food.

“For those of us with boots on the ground, these are literally kitchen table issues,” said Richard Mode, a representative from the North Carolina Wildlife Federation, which is an affiliate of the National Wildlife Foundation who funded the poll.