NOSA member survey explores motivcations for hunting/angling
Once again the Chamber of Commerce Central Canada Outdoor Show is upon us. With this in mind I want to share with readers and potential visitors of the show, some interesting information that was recently brought to light during a survey conducted in collaboration between the Northwestern Ontario Sportsmen’s Alliance(NOSA) and Lakehead University’s Fish and Wildlife 4251 class headed up by Professor Brian McLaren.
When Professor McLaren invited NOSA to participate in a survey to determine prime motivations for why we pursue our hunting and angling pastimes so vigorously here in the north, I knew our membership would be a valuable source of information.
A representative sampling of NOSA members revealed that many of them participate in both hunting and angling activities however the survey leaned toward hunting related questions so the results reflected more of the northern big/small game hunter mindset. The responses given to the survey questions I think will serve to inform both hunter and non-hunter alike, as to why hunting is so important to northern residents from a cultural perspective.
When asked the question, “Why do you hunt and/or fish?” the majority of respondents gave a very similar answer. Mainly, the idea of being part of, and no longer apart from nature, was often reason enough to hunt or fish. This is interesting when held up against accusations by many people who claim hunters simply hunt for the trophy. The Lakehead University survey of northern Ontario resident hunters demonstrated that in fact trophy hunting was not at all a primary motivation for hunting and harvesting wild game animals. This supports the arguments put forth by various conservation groups when faced with defending the viability of our hunting and angling heritage.
The basic theme in the overall response trend was that hunting/angling quite simply plays a huge role in the lives of many northern residents. Time spent with family and friends combined with the concept of the “Canadian tradition” seemed to be ideals commonly shared by survey respondents.
Another notable response throughout the survey was the concept of eating healthier as a result of harvested wild game. The majority of respondents indicated that they put high value on eating wild game fare. In fact most individuals reported eating wild game at least once a week and often times more than that. So the fact that a healthier diet of wild “organic” meat is a primary motivator for hunting/angling is a significant finding through the survey.
Professor Brian McLaren explained to me that, “Research surrounding the reasons hunters and anglers choose these activities, is surprisingly sparse throughout North America.” It is for this reason that McLaren and his students decided to pursue this element of research further. He cited anecdotal claims by northern residents who moved to the region specifically to find work here and be able to pursue their hunting and angling passions more actively than if they lived in more metropolitan type centers. While this sort of comment is not often backed up by any statistical evidence it is encouraging to note that the thinkers within the academic halls of Lakehead University are realizing that there is a great deal more to the question of why northern living is so appealing to many people who by their professional credentials could in fact live anywhere in North America that they choose. Clearly, northern Ontario’s world class hunting and fishing is a drawing card.
Groups like NOSA or tourism agencies of many stripes try to point out the socio-economic value of hunting and fishing as reasons to “sell” these activities to politicians and would be “anti” type groups. Perhaps with research like the latest survey conducted by LU and NOSA, it will become more evident that hunting and fishing are truly culturally rooted in the region and that for this reason alone we need to promote, market and protect our most treasured cultural pastimes. The Chamber of Commerce has recognized this fact and at the Central Canada Outdoor Show hunting/angling and a host of outdoor related activities and pastimes will be showcased in all their glory. Don’t miss it. See you at the Outdoor Show this February!