Florida Trying to Recruit More Hunters, Anglers
Bob McNally 07.18.17
Even the “fishing capital of the world” needs more anglers — and hunters — if it’s to sustain proper management for its fish, game, and sportsmen who pursue them.
So say Florida officials who are concerned the number of state residents buying fishing and hunting licenses is not keeping pace with the huge population growth throughout the Sunshine State. In the extreme, this lack of increasing revenue could spell big trouble for public land and water management throughout Florida.
Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) chairman Brian Yablonski says Florida needs more “folks outdoors and experiencing angling, as well as hunting, for resource purposes as well as to build that constituency for wildlife conservation.”
To bring more young people into the ranks of avid anglers and hunters, the FWC is making a big marketing push to draw Florida residents into the outdoor sports.
Yet not everyone believes Floridians should spend more time outdoors hunting.
Katrina Shadix of Oviedo (near Orlando), a frequent speaker at FWC meetings who has objected to past bear-hunting proposals, said the state shouldn’t spend public money to “kill our already dwindling wildlife.”
She said human overpopulation and the need to maintain clean water should be priorities.
“Spending taxpayer money to recruit people to kill wildlife, while labeling it as conservation, seems to be misleading and in direct conflict of the voice and will of the majority of Floridians,” Shadix said.
While fishing and hunting license sales in Florida have increased somewhat in recent years, the FWC believes that growth is not enough to properly manage the state’s wild lands, game and fish.