The majority of Pennsylvania’s hunters and anglers want decision-makers in the state to invest in clean water and fish habitat, even if it means sportsmen and women have to open their own wallets to do so, according to polling data revealed today by the Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership and Public Opinion Strategies.
Once they were provided with basic information on how it would help conservation, nearly three-quarters of the hunters and anglers polled (74 percent) said they would agree to increase the state’s fishing license fee, which hasn’t been adjusted in more than a decade, despite the rising costs facing the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission. Sixty percent of respondents supported the fee increase without any additional information about how the money would be spent.
Even as the primary agency tasked with providing safe access to 86,000 miles of rivers and streams, the PFBC has been forced to scale back conservation efforts and operate with fewer wildlife conservation officers in recent years.
“This study shows that, regardless of political affiliation, sportsmen and women in the Keystone State are spurred to action by clean water issues that affect our hunting and fishing opportunities,” says Derek Eberly, Pennsylvania field representative for the Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership. “We’ve always been willing to pay our fair share for conservation, but it’s time to pay a little more.”
Beyond the price of fishing licenses, 77 percent of poll respondents who hunt and fish were also willing to pay more in taxes to restore and/or maintain water quality and quantity in Pennsylvania, where healthy in-stream flows support strong fish populations. And 92 percent of the sportsmen and women polled said state lawmakers should strengthen or maintain the clean water laws and standards currently in place.
Other key results:
- 81% of Pennsylvania hunters and anglers across the political spectrum have a more favorable opinion of elected officials with pro-conservation views.
- 90% of voters who hunt and fish say habitat and water issues are important to them as they decide whether or not to support an elected official, with almost no distinction between Republicans, Democrats, and Independents.
- 37% went even further to say that habitat and water issues are of primary importance as they decide whether or not to support an elected official.
- Four in five say they support fully funding the Growing Greener program, which provides grants to restore watersheds, clean up abandoned mines, and plug abandoned oil and gas wells.