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Mark Dolliver's Takes: Hunting for Data

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Granted, it's not as life-and-death as a trip to Whole Foods just before dinner time, but many Americans persist in hunting and fishing. A report by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service says 29.9 million Americans age 16 and up fished last year, spending $40.6 billion in the process. As for hunting, 12.5 million people gave it a shot, spending $22.7 billion. It tells you something about what a rich country this is that hunters spent $166 million in the category "decoys and game calls." Still, the report notes a drop in the number of hunters and anglers. The number of people who fished last year was off 12 percent vs. 2001; the number who hunted was down 4 percent.

A strike against localism

As the newspaper business continues to struggle, one theory says most papers should define a niche for themselves by going intensely local—ceding world and national news to other media. However, a Harris Poll indicates this approach would be out of sync with what consumers want. Eighty-eight percent said it's important that a paper offer news and information about events in its "local region and community." But nearly identical numbers said the same about national news (87 percent) and world news (86 percent).