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Hunting On The Decline In California

A man and a boy out hunting with shotguns, circa 1955.
A man and a boy out hunting with shotguns, circa 1955.

Hunting in California has been in sharp decline for the past four decades.

About 250,000 Californians hunted deer, pigs, bear and birds last year. In 1970, there were almost 700,000 hunters.

Dan Yparraguirre, a deputy director with the California Department of Fish and Wildlife says urbanization is likely one of many causes for the decline.


“For many of our hunters, it’s not a thing they do, it’s a way of life. And so if you go back to the original conservationist sort of phrase, that does make you wonder who’s going to be there 30, 40, 50 or a 100 years from now," Yparraguirre said.

Yparraguirre said the cost of hunting licenses has gone up at a higher rate than the average income. Historically, hunting fees have been important in protecting wild spaces.

But Yparraguirre said the decline in hunting has leveled off in the past decade. He said he sees more women duck hunting these days.

“If you went to one of our hunting check stations for some of our wildlife areas where we permit duck hunting, you will see more women in line getting going than you did 30 to 40 years ago,” Yparraguirre said.

He said the decline in hunting in California is no different from trends seen in other states.