[mou] about wildlife funding in Minnesota

Richard Wood rwoodphd at yahoo.com
Wed Oct 3 14:38:12 EDT 2007

Hi all,

First off, not every (serious) birder is a member of the MOU (I'm not).  Secondly, you may poo-poo the numbers of birders that I quoted, but the fact is, birding and golfing are 1 and 2 as hobbies in terms of numbers of people that participate.  

Here's a quote from the NAS web site, http://www.audubon.org/bird/at_home/bird_watching/index.shtml:
"Did you know that birding is the number one sport in America?
According to US Fish and Wildlife Service, there are currently 51.3
million birders in the United States alone, and this number continues
to grow!

Thirdly, the number of hunters (and fishers) is constantly dwindling, so at some point that market is going to not be there.  You're going to have to get that money from somewhere.  I think a few dollars per birder per year isn't a big thing to ask.  I think an organization like Audubon, whether on a state or national level, could come up with a marketing plan to sell this to not only its members, but to other birders as well.

Why we need to keep dropping this at the foot of the hunters is beyond me.  $20/birder/year would be over $1 billion annually to conserve habitat.

Good birding,

Richard L. Wood, Ph. D.
Hastings, MN
rwoodphd at yahoo.com

----- Original Message ----
From: Andrew D. Bicek <bice0004 at umn.edu>
To: mou-net at moumn.org
Sent: Wednesday, October 3, 2007 1:04:43 PM
Subject: Re: [mou] about wildlife funding in Minnesota






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Richard Wood said:


“It seems to me that
there are more birders than hunters and it is time for us to ante up.”


That statement didn’t
sound right to me, so I checked (google search: mn fishing licenses sold/ mn
hunting licenses sold).  From the MN DNR website, in the year 2002, I
looked at the number of hunting and fishing licenses sold, assuming that anyone
who bought a license is considered a fisherperson or a hunter.  The results
are below in round numbers:



931,895 resident fishing
licenses sold, with 192,000 being husband and wife combos.  So the number
of resident fishing licenses sold is about 1 million.  In addition to this
are about 250,000 non-resident fishing licenses sold.



About 460,000 firearms and
archery deer licences, 300,000 small game licenses, 120,000 duck stamps, and
100,000 pheasant stamps.  You must have a duck or pheasant stamp to hunt
those species, in addition to a small game license.


Thus, the total is about 2
million licenses sold…when compared to our population, is roughly 40% if
each person only bought one license which is probably unlikely since many
people hunt and fish and there would be overlap.  So for an argument let’s
say that somewhere between 20-40% of the MN population hunts and or fishes.  Now,
show me where we have anything like that number of birders???  What is the
membership of the MOU, a few thousand?  Sure many people enjoy viewing
nature, actually who doesn’t?  But would those people call themselves
birders?  I doubt it.


Let me put it this way. When
I tell my friends I’m going birding, they say “your doing what?”. 
I never get that response when I say I’m going hunting or fishing, often
when I say I’m going hunting or fishing I get the response “me too,
where are you going?”.  I know this is anecdotal, but the hunting
and fishing numbers back it up. 


So let’s not kid
ourselves, many people may enjoy viewing wildlife, but are they dedicated
enough to buy a license?  I would guess that MOU members or audubon
society members etc may be, but that is about it. The average person would
probably laugh at the thought of buying a stamp to look at birds.


Andy Bicek

Elk River,




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