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Chicago News

Hunting is Declining, Putting Wildlife Conservation in a Funding Crunch

Hunting fees pay for wildlife conservation. With participation dropping, who will pick up the slack?

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A recent U.S. Fish and Wildlife survey reported that only 5 percent of Americans hunt, half the number it was 50 years ago, and that number is dropping. That’s putting state and national wildlife conservation efforts in a tight place, as hunting license fees and taxes on guns and fishing equipment provide a huge chunk of the funding these programs need. With the survival of wildlife species at risk, stakeholders are debating solutions: Recruiting new hunters, directing gas and oil taxes to conservation, and taxing outdoor gear are among the ideas.