There's clear evidence of a resurgence in one of America's favorite pastimes -- fishing. According to a new report, the number of Americans who fish is up, with more than 47 million people participating in 2012.
That figure is up from 45.4 million in 2010 but still behind the 2007 total of 51.8 million.
Adding to the 42.5 million in the 2012 figures who are current or occasional anglers, more than 4.5 million first-timers tried fishing last year, a significant increase from 2011 and the highest number of new participants ever recorded, according to industry officials.
The 2013 Special Report on Fishing and Boating just released by the Recreational Boating & Fishing Foundation and The Outdoor Foundation also shows significant increases in fishing participation among women and children.
Good news for those anglers who fished the wonderful body of water near Pekin. Powerton Lake State Fish and Wildlife Area has reopened for boat and bank fishing following a levee maintenance project. Powerton Lake SFWA hours are 6 a.m. to 8 p.m. through Sept. 30, and 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. beginning Oct. 1.
Results from the annual Illinois Archery Deer Hunter Survey, which tracks observations of wildlife by volunteers while hunting deer from Oct. 1-Nov. 15, showed results similar to the previous year for all species. In 2012, a total of 896 bow hunters participated in the survey and logged more than 55,000 hours afield.
Tracking long-term changes in relative abundance of wildlife is the main value of the survey. Numbers of bobcat, coyote, white-tailed deer, wild turkey and squirrels observed per 1,000 hours increased since the survey began in 1992.
The most striking change is a 10-fold increase in the number of bobcats observed by hunters between 1992 and 2013. Declines in observations of red and gray fox are probably related to changes in habitat and greater abundance of coyotes.
•Contact Mike Jackson at firstname.lastname@example.org, and catch his radio show 6-7 a.m. Sundays on WSBC 1240-AM and live-streamed at www.mikejacksonoutdoors.com.