Hunter and angler participation is a central component of wildlife and fisheries management in Nebraska and throughout the United States of America. License sales and taxes on fishing and hunting equipment are vital sources of funding for wildlife management agencies, and in many cases, management objectives are met under the stewardship of sportsmen and women. In Nebraska, there are over 200,000 anglers and 125,000 hunters, each spending twelve or more days pursuing fish and game in the waters and fields of the Cornhusker State. Generating more than $1.1 billion in annual economic development for Nebraska, and bringing millions of dollars of Federal funding to the state, the value of hunters and anglers for Nebraska goes well beyond managing Nebraska’s wild places.
The dependence on hunters and anglers by management agencies like the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission makes the North American Model of Conservation unique, but vulnerable to declining participation in outdoor recreation. Family Fishing Nights, Outdoor Expos, and programs like Becoming an Outdoors Woman increase outdoor recreation, but to ensure the future of hunting and fishing in Nebraska we need to understand how sportsmen and women use Nebraska’s fish and wildlife resources and how they perceive the hunting and fishing opportunities available in Nebraska.
Working in conjunction with the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission, researchers from the Nebraska Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit at the University of Nebraska—Lincoln are conducting field interviews of sportsmen and women throughout Nebraska. Through these interviews we hope to better understand what motivates the public to fish and hunt, what the challenges are to maintaining the hunting and fishing heritage, and how hunters and anglers help to manage Nebraska’s fish and wildlife resources.