Hunting in the Northwest: Sustainability and the Circle of Life
Hunting in the great Northwest is a time-honored tradition for families and friends. Today’s hunters understand they are part of a sustainable circle of life – bringing money into the economy, raising funds for wildlife and forest ecology, and helping balance our natural resources.
The Sustainability of Hunting
While Oregon and Washington differ on some aspects of wildlife protection and habitat, they do use some of the same language to define sustainability. In broad terms, sustainability is the use, development, and protection of a resource to ensure that it meets current and future needs.
When it comes to hunting, the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife (ODFW), as well as the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW), are focused on sustainability. That means maintaining the balance of wildlife and other natural resources.
That sustainability is carried out, in part, thanks to fees paid by hunters. Every Oregon and Washington resident that goes hunting pays fees for tags and more. For 80+ years, federal law has required duck hunters to carry a current $25 duck stamp. In that time, this fee has raised over $1-billion to support the National Wildlife Refuge System.
But that system only works as long as there are enough hunters to support it. Since 2006, there has been a steady decline in the number of hunters in the U.S.
According to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Services 2016 National Survey of Fishing, Hunting, and Wildlife-Associated Recreation, there are just 11.5 million Americans who consider themselves to be hunters. That’s down 16% from 2011. The number of big-game hunters is down 20% and other animal hunters have dwindled by 39% over the last decade.
Regardless of the decline in hunters, approval for hunting continues to climb with 79% of Americans giving their thumbs up for the activity according to a survey by Responsive Management.
Boosting Local Economies
Hunting has been shown to help balance wildlife populations that can explode when left unchecked. But the activity can also help improve local economies. From meat processors and butchers, to tanneries and taxidermists, as well as small-town grocery stores and restaurants located near public lands where deer, elk, ducks, and more roam free, the money spent by hunters adds to the sustainability.
Hunting is Sustainable
The tradition of hunting brings families together, helps offset taxpayer costs of managing natural resources, and helps provide jobs. You can be part of that time-honored tradition. When you’re ready, apply for your specific hunting permits online for both Oregon and Washington. For younger hunters, a hunting class is required. You’ll find hunter safety courses in both Oregon and Washington.
For more information, contact the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife or the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife.
Start Your Hunting Trip at Coastal
Your Northwest owned and operated Coastal has everything you need for your next hunting trip, including guns and ammunition, camping gear, food, warm-weather clothing, as well as advice. While you’re planning your hunting expedition, check out our articles Game Processing Tips and Tricks and What to Do with Your Deer and Elk Meat.