Waterfowl populations have been increasing in the U.S. for more than a decade now, but hunters have not been keeping up with this trend. According to a study published in the spring of 2017 by Paul Wait of Delta Waterfowl, there are half as many waterfowl hunters in the U.S. then there were in 1970 and the numbers continue dropping.
Wait said that the decline in hunters is alarming for people who care about the future of duck and geese hunting and wetland conservation. The hope is that by promoting awareness of the problem, more people, specifically younger generations, will begin to gain interest in the sport.
Dr. Luke Laborde of Louisiana State University researched the decline and said that the problem is partially due hunters not having access to uncrowded, good hunting grounds.
Waterfowl hunters are important to keep bird population under control. Overpopulation of any animal is bad for the environment and in the spreading of disease.
Tim Jergenson and Joel McReynolds with the University of Wisconsin-Extension Barron County said that migratory waterfowl can directly spread high pathogenic avian influenza along the Mississippi Flyway which goes from the Gulf of Mexico into Canada. Several states in the flyway zone have already had confirmed cases of the virus on commercial poultry farms.