The U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service's most recent survey of hunting, fishing and wildlife watching shows that the number of Alaskans who hunt or fish declined significantly between 2001 and 2006. Although this periodic survey has been the unchallenged source of outdoor statistics for decades, your editorial writer rejects them because they don't fit with his image of Alaska as a frontier state of rootin' tootin' moose shootin' pioneers ("Outdoor numbers, hunting, fishing, in decline? Don't make book on it here," Aug. 21).
This antiquated portrayal of Alaskans excludes the state's many devoted environmentalists and animal advocates. Alaska today is a forward-looking state that is entering the 21st century along with the rest of America. Hunting and fishing were a large part of Alaska's past; they are a smaller part of its present, and will be a still smaller part of its future. This phenomenon was much more accurately addressed in your recent news article ("Hunting, fishing are declining despite Alaska's angling rank," Aug. 14) which presented a solid, factual report, including some interesting analysis of why the numbers are declining. Nostalgia cannot refute statistics. And facts are facts, whether they mesh with outdated beliefs or not.
Campaign Manager - Hunting
The Humane Society of the United States