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DNR concerned over drop in fishing and hunting

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ST. PAUL, Minn. - Minnesota is still known as an outdoor paradise, but state wildlife officials are concerned that fewer residents are fishing its lakes and rivers, and hunting its forests and fields. 

The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) is addressing the drop in license sales and participation by staging a two-day conference from Friday, Aug. 26, to Saturday, Aug. 27 at the Earle Brown Heritage Center in Brooklyn Center that will focus on recruiting and retaining hunters and anglers. 

“In the 1960s and decades before, hunting and fishing was simply a part of people’s heritage, and it was a relatively low cost social activity that provided food for the table,” said Jeff Ledermann, angler recruitment, retention and education supervisor. “But times have changed.”

The numbers back him up: In the 1960s and 1970s about 40 percent of Minnesotans age 16 and older purchased a fishing license. That began to decline in the 1980s and today, just 27 percent of Minnesota residents age 16 and older fish and 12 percent hunt.

“Because hunting and fishing provide important social, economic and conservation benefits, many are concerned about the declines in participation,” Ledermann said. “That’s why we’re bringing experts and organizations together around boosting hunter and angler numbers.”

The conference will include presentations from national experts, reflections from local organizations and breakout sessions to address common challenges are also scheduled. The DNR will provide a free toolkit with templates for new programs, strategies to enhance existing programs, evaluation tools, and checklists to help program planning and management.

Volunteers and staff of organizations or agencies and members of the public involved or interested in preserving Minnesota’s outdoor heritage are encouraged to attend. There are no fees for registration or meals.

Online registration is open at www.mndnr.gov/r3.

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