Washington Public Opinion On Hunting And Wildlife Management
According to this 2008 survey, 82% of Washington state residents approve of legal, regulated hunting, while 12% disapprove, most commonly on the basis of animal rights or opposition to killing animals. The overall approval of hunting has remained nearly the same from 2002 to 2008.
The most popular outdoor recreation activities of Washington residents in the past 2 years (of the seven activities about which the survey asked) were hiking (57% did this), wildlife viewing (49%), and camping (48%).
A large majority of Washington residents (82%) approve of legal, regulated hunting, and only 12% disapprove. When asked about reasons for support or opposition to hunting, animal welfare related reasons have higher support than the rest: hunting to prevent the spread of animal disease (79% support) and hunting to prevent damage to habitat caused by overpopulation of wildlife (71% support). Lower percentages support hunting for reasons related to human welfare: 54% support hunting to address nuisance animals, 47% to address wildlife conflicts, and 41% to reduce animal vehicle collisions.
Nearly half (46%) of Washington residents feel that hunters’ behavior is “excellent” or “good,” while 22% feel that it is “fair” or “poor;” 32% do not know. Also related, 2% of respondents think that all hunters comply with all hunting regulations, while 48% believe that about 75% of all hunters comply; 24% did not know.
Other specific animal issues addressed:
- 46% are opposed to the use of dogs to hunt cougars, while 41% support it, mainly to protect human safety.
- Majorities support predator management for health of threatened or endangered species (65%), for human safety (62%), or for protecting pets and domestic animals (50%). Support for reducing predators is less in 2008 than it was in 2002.
- Residents most commonly think that threats to humans from cougars have been stable over the past 4 years (43%), while 24% believe they have increased and 7% feel that have decreased.
- Options for cougar management are supported by residents, including trap and relocate (75%), hunting by licensed hunters (48%), hunting by Dept staff (40%), and hunting by paid professionals (24%).
- For bear management, residents support trap and relocate (65%), regulated hunting by licensed hunters (47%), hunting by Dept staff (38%), and hunting by paid professionals (22%).
- 75% of residents support allowing wolves to recover in Washington, while 17% oppose.
- About 60% of residents support reducing coyote and raccoon populations for various reasons.
- 38% of residents are members of or donate to a wildlife organization that promotes conservation or habitat enhancement.