Outdoor Observations

Bill Parker

Michigan Editor

MAKING A DIFFERENCE. Much has been done to promote the
introduction of youths into hunting and fishing. Age reductions in
license requirements, special licenses, and special seasons have
encouraged many youths to take up the sports. Much has been written
and discussed about the success of such programs.

There also are programs, like the National Wild Turkey
Federation’s Women in the Outdoors and the DNR’s Becoming an
Outdoors Woman, that are geared toward introducing women to outdoor
recreation.

But do they really accomplish anything? Do they actually recruit
new members into our hunting and fishing ranks?

You bet.

For proof, look no further than the U.S. Fish and Wildlife
Service’s 2006 Survey of Hunting, Fishing and Wildlife-Associated
Recreation. Although nationwide the number of hunters took a
double-digit dip between 1991 and 2006, the number of women
participating increased to 9 percent of the total 12.5 million
hunters. That’s about 1.1 million women who hunted in 2006.

Ditto for fishing.

The overall number of anglers in the United States decreased
slightly between the same years, but the number of women
participating in the sport increased. A whopping 25 percent of the
30 million anglers who fished in 2006 were women, or about 7.6
million.

As the father of two daughters who both hunt and fish, I find
these numbers reassuring and exciting. Now, if we could only find a
way to reverse the trend of the declining number of males who hunt
and fish.

The USFWS uses the U.S. Census Bureau to collect data for its
National Survey of Hunting, Fishing and Wildlife-Associated
Recreation. The survey has been conducted every five years since
1955. To view the entire survey, visit the USFWS website at
www.fws.gov.

HEARTFELT CONDOLENCES. My sincere condolences go out to the
family of Mike Zielinski.

A charter captain and outdoors writer for many years here in
Michigan, and a frequent contributor to Michigan Outdoor News, Mike
passed away earlier this year from an apparent heart attack.

“We’d been shopping earlier in the day,” Mike’s wife Louise told
me. “I went to work, and when I called home there was no answer.
That wasn’t unusual, Mike always fell asleep when he lay on the
couch to watch the Red Wings or something. I called later, and he
still didn’t answer so I called our son, who lives close by. He
went to check on his dad and found him unconscious.”

Mike was pronounced dead at a local hospital at the young age of
62.

Mike was a talented writer and editor and one of the best
charter captains around, especially in southeastern Michigan. There
probably isn’t a fisherman out there who has more knowledge of the
Detroit River and Lake Erie than Mike Zielinski did, especially
when it came time to catch walleyes. He was, undoubtedly, one of
the best.

Mike touched a lot of people through his hunting, fishing, and
writing adventures. He will be missed dearly by many.

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