Federal Report Shows More People Wildlife Watching Over Hunting and Fishing in WA and OR - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Federal Report Shows More People Wildlife Watching Over Hunting and Fishing in WA and OR

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BASIN CITY, Wash.-- For avid duck hunters in Eastern Washington, the season is just getting started.

"The best time is right after Thanksgiving," said Mike Franklin.

Mike Franklin is the owner of Pacific Wings. His company plans guided hunting. Franklin says business is looking up.

"Coming into this year we were four times busier booked, than past years," said Franklin.

But a recent report by the US Fish and Wildlife Service shows fishing and hunting,  are now trailing behind wildlife watching.

"Wildlife recreation bird watching, wildlife feeding, has been slowly on the rise," said Tom Buckley, with US Fish and Wildlife in Spokane.

In 2006, the numbers show more than 2 million people in Washington watching wildlife, and in Oregon close to 1.5 million.

"Where they're spending their money is in film, binoculars,backpacks, camping gear," said Buckley.

In total more than $45 million nationwide. Some of it, boosting the local economy.

"And then of course, hotels, and gasoline, restaurants," said Buckley.

Buckley says for many, watching is easier and more fun.

"It's a little more sedentary than it is trekking through the mountains and woods, or to find an isolated pond to fish," said Buckley.

And hunters say they're also helping.

"On our licenses X amount of dollars goes to fund those parking areas," said Franklin.

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