Loz Heryt's profile

This began to change

Where profits can be made, however, it is difficult to keep Adam Smith’s ’invisible hand’ from nudging us toward wildlife markets.In 1991, 14,063,000 hunters sixteen years old or older took to the field in the United States.Each spent an average of $984 per year in 1995 dollars.That works out to $12,336,000,000!Overall, hunters, anglers, hikers, birdwatchers, and other wildlife enthusiasts spent just over $67 billion in 1991 in pursuit of wildlife recreation.Expenditures included travel, lodging, equipment, licenses, user fees, membership duesand land leasing and ownership.Indeed, in 1991 alone, 1.5 million hunters and anglers spent $5.27 billion to purchase and $528.5 million to lease land for the primary purpose of fishing and hunting.Coupled with previous land purchases, hunters and anglers actually own approximately 19.5 million acres, equivalent to nearly nine Yellowstone Parks, for the primary purpose of hunting and fishing.That signal is becoming stronger, too.In south central Texas, for example, landowners actually earn more from deer hunting operations than from cattle ranching.He reports, ’on some ranches, quail hunting reaps a higher return than either deer hunting or cattle ranching.’ 1 In addition, some state wildlife agencies are waking up to the opportunities in wildlife markets, even though this remains the exception.Wildlife officials at the Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife, and Parks, for instance, instituted a block management program for hunters near the end of the 1980s, whereby the state contracts with ranchers and farmers to provide controlled access for the hunting public.A limited number of hunters are allowed on each property on a given day, and they must adhere to landowner rules covering such things as registration and road use.In return, the state compensates landowners modestly with payments for crops and forage lost due to wildlife and helps landowners enforce rules of access.The program has worked so well for landowners and sportsmen that plans are now under way to up the ante to increase hunting opportunities on private lands.Among the changes, each landowner will get as much as $5,000 to participate in the block management program, with the funds coming from slightly higher license fees.The state’s task force in charge of the new plan believes this will open more opportunities for hunters and send a stronger message to landowners that wildlife means profits.Wildlife officials with the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department see new nongame market opportunities in birdwatching.Surveys show that the ’Texas Hill Country’ near the Gulf has become a mecca for birdwatchers and an economic boom for local communities.2 For example, a 1990 survey showed that 1,485 members of the American Birding Association, one of several national birdwatching associations, spent a total of $5,009,914 that year visiting public and private birding sites along the Texas coast.A 1991 survey of whooping crane tours near Rockport, Texas, showed that 15,561 birders participated in the tours, spending, on average, $200 per person.The daily tours cost $40 per person and last four to five hours.Two in the BushThe zebra cautiously approached the water hole, unaware of the danger perched in the tree above.African animals are conditioned to be cautious by predators that make life precarious, but in this case, the predator was well concealed.Instantly, the zebra fell to the ground as the arrow severed his spinal cord.The meat would become dog food because humans generally find it inedible, but the tanned zebra skin would decorate the floor of the hunter’s trophy room.To the nonhunter this crass ’slaughter’ of a magnificent African animal for pure human pleasure engenders feelings of disgust and anger sufficient to mobilize antihunting forces.Killing for meat might be rationalized, but killing strictly for pleasure is not to be tolerated.With the individual animal as the focal point, the killing of the zebra or any other animal is seen simply as a merciless act that decreases wildlife populations for human pleasure.But the focus on the individual animal is misplaced if we are truly concerned with
This began to change
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This began to change

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