Hunters are more responsible for the public’s approval of hunting than any other factor, according to comments by a survey company that has found increasing support for the sport.
The US survey shows hunting remains extremely popular in the US, where four out of five people approve of it in spite of highly publicised anti-hunting campaigns by groups like PETA.
The National Shooting Sports Foundation has released the results of the survey that shows support for hunting is at its highest level since 1995, when surveys began.
Hunting currently has the approval of 79% of Americans, and at the same time the level of disapproval is at its lowest, at 12%.
“Approval of hunting among Americans is fairly stable and bounces between 73 and 79%,” Mark Duda, executive director of survey company Responsive Management, said.
“The reasons for this increase are still unclear, but it is probably related to the increase in hunting and shooting participation.”
No similar surveys are done in Australia, but anecdotal evidence suggests hunting is also gaining greater acceptance here as the industry continues to grow.
The number of game hunting licences in Victoria is increasing again after declines in previous years, and the NSW Game Council is continuing to see increases in the number of licences it issues.
“Since 2006, hunting participation has increased by 9% while shooting participation has increased 18% since 2009,” Duda said of the US experience.
“Other studies we have conducted on public opinion on hunting show that the strongest correlation for approval of hunting is knowing a hunter – over and above demographic variables or anything else.
“With the increased number of hunters in the field and sport shooters at the range, it is possible that this is being reflected in this uptick in support for hunting.”
If Duda’s comments are correct, it reinforces the role individual hunters can play in countering the negative effects of anti-hunting campaigns, simply by talking with their friends.
In Australia, the Greens, RSPCA, National Parks Association, Public Service Association, Coalition Against Ducks Shooting and other organisations have been waging a war against hunting in various capacities.