Sports

Sports

Global warming is occurring, outdoorsmen say in poll

June 11, 2006

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— Duck season? Not yet.

Rabbit season? Not until fall.

Global climate change altering the seasons? Right now, according the results of a recent survey of America's hunters and fishers.

A majority - 76 percent - of the nation's sportsmen agreed that global warming is occurring, according to the Nationwide Opinion Survey of Hunters and Anglers commissioned by National Wildlife Federation, and 73 percent said they believe the trend has already affected or will affect hunting and fishing conditions.

The sportsmen are part of an increasingly large and bipartisan group concerned with climate change, said Jeremy Symons, director of the National Wildlife Federation's Global Warming Campaign. "Global warming is an issue that's reaching a tipping point in America, where American sportsmen are the latest to add their voice to the call to action," Symons said.

Of the 1,031 hunters and anglers surveyed, results show that 76 percent agree that global warming is occurring. An equal percentage of respondents said they had observed effects of climate change firsthand.

Fifty-four percent said seasonal weather changes such as earlier springs, hotter summers or unusual droughts were related to global warming.

Claiming global warming - a rise in temperature caused by heat trapped in the Earth's atmosphere by the emission of "greenhouse gases" such as carbon dioxide - as the most critical threat to protecting wildlife in the future, Symons said habitats could be destroyed.

A gradual increase in temperature can dry up wetlands that serve as breeding ground for waterfowl - namely ducks - or cause harm to cold-water fish such as trout and salmon, Symons said. Rising sea levels could end in a loss of coastal wetlands and the fisheries found along them. In all cases, the results mean trouble for hunters, anglers and the game they chase.

The poll, conducted by Responsive Management, a public opinion and attitude research firm in Harrisonburg, Va., took a random sample of license-holding hunters and anglers across the country.

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