Across party lines, sportsmen and sportswomen believe climate change is happening and that habitat-driven solutions can help
A majority of American hunters and anglers polled earlier this year said they embrace habitat conservation strategies as a way to address the impacts of climate change on fish and wildlife. The poll, conducted by New Bridge Strategy on behalf of the Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership, also showed that more hunters and anglers—across party lines—say that climate change is happening than not.
“These findings are significant, because they paint a clearer picture of support for climate change solutions among conservative sportsmen and sportswomen, who some might assume are agnostic or even aggressively opposed to climate legislation,” says Tiffany Turner, the TRCP’s director of climate solutions. “This is particularly meaningful for Republican lawmakers who have maybe hedged on supporting legislation, when they actually have the constituent support in the hunting and fishing community to become wholehearted champions of habitat restoration and protection that improves carbon storage and sequestration.”
Here are some key findings from the poll:
72 percent of sportsmen and sportswomen said that climate change is happening
86 percent said they’d support restoring wetlands and coastal areas, which help store carbon, while also acting as natural defenses to absorb rain during storms, provide wildlife habitat, and help filter pollutants from rivers and streams
84 percent said they’d support restoring forests, prairies, and grasslands, which help store carbon, while also providing wildlife habitat and helping to filter pollutants from rivers and streams
76 percent would support setting a national goal of conserving and restoring 30 percent of land and inland waters in America and 30 percent of its ocean areas by the year 2030
76 percent support providing financial incentives for farmers to adopt regenerative practices and verifying that they are taking those actions, such as no-till farming or planting cover crops
Nearly half of those polled reported seeing an increase in certain climate change impacts, including “weird” weather and declining populations of fish or wildlife
More than half believe that climate change will affect their ability to hunt or fish in the next 20 years
The results show that climate change is still a much more partisan issue than other threats to fish and wildlife. The sportsmen and sportswomen polled were more concerned about habitat being broken up by development, pollution, disease, and roads and highways across habitat and migration routes.
There is also more work to do to convince sportsmen and sportswomen that climate change is affecting their hunting and fishing right now. The TRCP has launched a new campaign to educate and drive hunters and anglers to action in support of nature-based solutions—those that hinge on maintaining, managing, restoring, and improving our lands and waters to reverse climate change.
Healthy habitats absorb and store carbon from the atmosphere, where it would otherwise contribute to global warming. Specific examples of natural climate solutions can be found on the TRCP’s new interactive map (select Landscape Categories from the menu.) Many of the projects also lessen the impacts of climate change by reducing erosion, preventing wildfires, enhancing soil health, protecting against drought and flooding, cooling stream temperatures, strengthening coastlines, or improving the quality and availability of clean water.
Founded in 2002, the TRCP is the largest coalition of conservation organizations in the country, uniting and amplifying the voices of sportsmen and women by convening hunting and fishing groups, conservation organizations, and outdoor businesses to a common purpose.