Hunters and Greens

HUNTERS AND GREENS….I spent last weekend in Roanoke, Va., at the annual get-together of the Outdoors Writers of Association of America, the national hook & bullet journos group. This is my second year in attendance. A few things were different this time: The conversation about hunters and greens working together, last year bubbling below the surface, was front and center this year. Global warming is now an accepted premise — a part of landscape in which other conversations about conservation take place. Though I wouldn’t make too much of it, I did hear someone pining for Al Gore in ’08 (the rundown: Romney is a fake hunter; McCain is crazy on Iraq; Hillary is too divisive; Obama is too novice).

A few other things I learned:

  • The Sierra Club, among the leading green groups in partnering with sportsmen, recently added 12 new regional staffers to work on outreach; some of their state chapters have also begun facilitating hunter-safety training courses.

  • Ducks Unlimited has been working with National Wildlife Federation to inform its members about the potential effects of climate change.

  • In the most recent national survey, the number of hunters and anglers overall continues to decline, due to increased urbanization and other factors. Hunters in households with incomes below $40,000 have declined the fastest. But for hunters in households making more than $100,000, the retention rate has actually increased since 1996.

  • Hunters are predominantly male. Yet the folks who’ve been most successful in reaching out and forging partnerships haven’t been green dudes, talking man to man — but rather the enviro ladies. A few possible explanations present themselves.

  • John Edwards, the talk went, wears a lot of make-up on the stump. (FYI, I’m not making a comment on this, just passing along what I heard folks talk about; I’m always curious where impressions spring from, what gossip sticks. WaPo confirms detail.)

  • Climate change is driving species to higher latitudes and elevations. National wildlife refuges, lands set aside as habitat based on where critters used to live, aren’t so mobile.

There was a whole roundtable on advice for hunter-green coalitions, so I’ll post more on that later.

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