Duck hunting in Canada and U.S. is on the decline

spectr17

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Duck hunting in Canada and U.S. is on the decline

By Tim Renken Of The St. Louis Post-Dispatch

06/13/2002

When area duck hunters sit in their blinds, they sometimes speculate about Canadian duck hunters and the ducks they kill.

This topic comes up most often on days when the ducks aren't flying. Every duck killed in Canada, the logic goes, is a duck that doesn't come through here.

The duck kill in Canada was never a big factor in the quality of hunting here, of course, and it is getting smaller every year. Why? Because fewer Canadians are hunting every year. This fact will come as a shock to the U.S. duck hunters who carry the image that in a country teeming with waterfowl, almost everybody must hunt.

In 1999, though, just 197,584 Canadians bought waterfowl permits. That's 38 percent of the Canadians who bought permits in 1978. Canada has a total population of about 30 million.

The decline in duck hunters was even more dramatic in the prairie provinces, according to an article in the current issue of the Delta Waterfowl Report, the magazine of the Delta Waterfowl conservation and research organization. In Manitoba, where most of the Mississippi Flyway's ducks are raised, 46,050 resident waterfowl permits were sold in 1978. By 1999, that number had fallen to 11,051. In relatively populous Ontario, the numbers were 159,698 in 1978 and 70,407 in 1999.

In contrast, the number of U.S. duck hunters has gone from 2.2 million to 1.6 million in the same time period. Missouri has about 31,000 and Illinois about 39,000, with the numbers going up and down from year to year.

What's with the Canadians? Why are so many not hunting anymore?

The Delta article cites demographic causes, primarily the move of people out of the country into urban areas. About 80 percent of Canadians live in urban areas.

"Using Manitoba as an example, of a total population of about 1 million, 70 percent live in and around Winnipeg," the article states. "City dwellers often seem to get caught up in the hustle and bustle of urban life, losing the desire to experience the outdoors and, therefore, their connection to the land. Many hunters we've talked to tell us their families have no desire to eat the game anymore. They'd rather eat chicken and fish."

Also cited are Canada's anti-gun laws, complicated hunting regulations, and "pressure from anti-hunting groups." The anti-gun, anti-hunting movement is stronger in Canada than it is in the U.S., as evidenced by the country's complete licensing and registration of all guns. Last year a proposal to hold a special waterfowl hunt for youths drew vehement protests.

According to the Delta article, when word came out about the hunt, the headlines in some newspapers accused the government of "putting guns in the hands of kids."

Delta said the decline in the hunters has far-reaching implications in Canada, where hunters and anglers have always been the pillars of conservation.
 

huntducks

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if it's declining so much why can't I draw a LDC reservation.
 

vman

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I think some can be contributed to price of shells.  Two years ago I was hunting north of Winnipeg and some of the farmers I talked to said It just cost to much anymore.  The price of a box of steal shot for him was around $25 american.  You can buy lots of hamburger for that.
 

karstic

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Hopefully the decline in hunters doesn't manifest itself as a loss in protection of the critical habitat regions essential to waterfowl.
 

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