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Number of anglers/hunters falls slightly in 1997



U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
 Great Lakes-Big Rivers Region

NEWS RELEASE

For Immediate Release
September 22, 1998
EA98-65

Contact:
Eric Eckl 202-208-5636
Brad Johnson 612-713-5131


NUMBER OF ANGLERS AND HUNTERS
FALLS SLIGHTLY IN 1997

Although the number of anglers and hunters who bought
licenses fell slightly from 1996 to 1997, their
expenditures continued to rise, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife
Service announced today.

Anglers bought 29.3 million fishing licenses in 1997
compared with 29.9 million in 1996.  These anglers paid
$498.4 million for their licenses, tags, permits, and
stamps, compared with $447 million in 1996.
Meanwhile, 14.9 million hunters bought licenses in 1997,
down from 15.2 million in 1996.  However, they spent
$564.9 million on licenses, up from $542.8 million the
year before.

Revenues raised through license sales support state
wildlife agencies, their conservation projects, and their
hunting and fishing safety and education programs.
+Through license sales alone, hunters and anglers
contribute nearly $1 billion a year to wildlife
conservation,' said Service Director Jamie Rappaport
Clark.  +That is money that doesn't come from general tax
revenue, yet it benefits every American by promoting
both a healthy environment and healthy wildlife.  This
money doesn't even count the hundreds of millions of
dollars sportsmen and women contribute through excise
taxes on hunting and fishing equipment and donate to
non-profit conservation organizations.'

Regional Service Director Bill Hartwig, who oversees
operations in eight states throughout the Midwest and
Great Lakes in Region 3, is hopeful that this downward
trend will be changing soon.  +Region 3's fishing and
hunting opportunities are some of the best in the Nation,'
Hartwig said.  +We look forward to increased
participation using resources specifically managed for our
hunters and anglers.'

In 1998, the states in Region 3 received a total of
$32,044,396 in Wildlife Restoration grant funds and
$55,468,342 in Sport Fish Restoration grant funds, for a
total of $87,512,738. This amount represents 20.5 percent
of the national total.  The money will be spent on
activities to improve habitat, conduct research, operate
and manage fish and wildlife resources, purchase land,
provide hunter and aquatic education, and construct
public access and other facilities.

License sales figures are compiled annually by the U.S.
Fish and Wildlife Service from information submitted by
state fish and wildlife agencies.  The figures are part of a
formula to determine the amount of funding each state
receives through the Federal Aid in Wildlife Restoration
and the Federal Aid in Sport Fish Restoration programs,
both administered by the Service.  Under these programs,
hunters and anglers pay an excise tax on hunting and
fishing equipment such as firearms, ammunition, and
tackle.  Using these receipts, the Service provides grants
to states to conserve wildlife; teach hunter safety; and
provide fishing, hunting, and boating opportunities.  Sales
of hunting licenses peaked at 16.7 million in 1982.  Sales
of fishing licenses have been steady over the same time
period.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is the principal
Federal agency responsible for conserving, protecting,
and enhancing fish and wildlife and their habitats for the
continuing benefit of the American people.  The Service
manages the 93-million-acre National Wildlife Refuge
System comprised of more than 500 national wildlife
refuges, thousands of small wetlands, and other special
management areas.  It also operates 66 national fish
hatcheries and 78 ecological services field stations.  The
agency enforces Federal wildlife laws, administers the
Endangered Species Act, manages migratory bird
populations, restores nationally significant fisheries,
conserves and restores wildlife habitat such as wetlands,
and helps foreign governments with their conservation
efforts.  It also oversees the Federal Aid program that
distributes hundreds of millions of dollars in excise taxes
on fishing and hunting equipment to state wildlife
agencies.

-FWS-

Editor's Note:  A state-by-state breakdown is available
from the Office of Media Services, 202-208-5634.


Department of the Interior
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
Bishop Henry Whipple Federal Bldg.
1 Federal Drive, Ft. Snelling, MN 55111
Contact External Affairs:
Telephone (612) 713-5360
TDD (612) 713-5318
Fax: (612) 713-5280
E-mail: r3_pao@mail.fws.gov