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.