The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service will begin conducting its national survey of fishing, hunting and wildlife-associated recreation and are requesting that hunters, anglers and other wildlife enthusiasts participate if contacted for interviews scheduled to begin April 1.
The information, collected by the U.S. Census Bureau primarily through telephone interviews to be conducted April to June and September to October this year and January to March, 2012, provides the only comprehensive statistical database available on Americans' participation in and spending on hunting, fishing and wildlife-watching in the 50 states.
"We appreciate the anglers, hunters, birdwatchers and other citizens throughout the United States who voluntarily participate in the survey when contacted," said the wildlife service's acting director, Rowan Gould. "The survey results help wildlife and natural resource managers quantify how much Americans value wildlife resources in terms of both participation and expenditures."
The survey, conducted every five years since 1955, will involve 53,000 households from the Census Bureau's master address file. From this information, the bureau will select samples of 19,000 anglers and hunters and 10,000 wildlife watchers and follow up with further detailed questions.
"The last survey published in 2006 revealed 87.5 million Americans enjoyed some form of wildlife-related recreation and spent more than $122.3 billion pursuing their activities," said Hannibal Bolton, assistant director for the service’s Wildlife and Sport Fish Restoration program. "The survey is a critical information resource for federal and state wildlife agencies, outdoor and tourist industries, local governments, planners, conservation groups, journalists and others interested in wildlife and outdoor recreation."
Participation is voluntary and all responses are confidential. Preliminary survey findings will be available in spring 2012 with final reports issued beginning in the fall, to be posted on the restoration program's Web page.
-- Kelly Burgess
Photo: Laying the groundwork for a day of duck hunting, Jim Fisher tosses a decoy as his dog, Willow, looks on. Credit: Fred Greenslade / Reuters