The latest national survey of outdoor recreation shows a significant increase in hunters and a double-digit increase in anglers over the past five years.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s 2011 National Survey of Fishing, Hunting, and Wildlife-Associated Recreation found the number of hunters increased by 9 percent while the number of anglers grew by 11 percent. The survey found that almost 38 percent of all Americans participated in wildlife-related recreation in 2011, an increase of 2.6 million participants from the previous survey in 2006.
In addition to more people in the field, they also spent more compared with the 2006 survey. In 2011, people engaged in wildlife-related recreation spent $145 billion on related gear, trips and other purchases, such as licenses, tags, and land leasing and ownership, representing 1 percent of the nation’s gross domestic product. That is up from $120.1 billion in 2006.
The report provides more evidence to Interior Secretary Ken Salazar as he travels the country touting the economic importance of outdoor recreation. It was a message he brought to a meeting Aug. 14 with business and community leaders at Mount Rainier National Park.
“Outdoor recreation and tourism are huge economic engines for local communities and the country, so it is vital that we continue to support policies and investments that help Americans get outside, learn to fish, or go hunting,” Salazar said in a prepared statement released with the survey.
At the request of state fish and wildlife agencies, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has conducted the national survey every five years since 1955. It is viewed as one of the nation’s most important wildlife-related recreation databases and a key source of information concerning participation and purchases associated with hunting, fishing and other forms of wildlife-related recreation.
The U.S. Census Bureau interviewed 48,627 households across the country to obtain samples of sportspersons and wildlife watchers for detailed interviews. Information was collected through computer-assisted telephone and in-person interviews.
The nationwide report is the first in a series the service will release. The next report of findings will contain state data and will be available in the coming months. In late November, the national report with more detailed participation and expenditure estimates will be available online. From December 2012 to May 2013, the 50 state reports will be released on a rolling basis.
Key survey findings
• In 2011, 13.7 million people, 6 percent of the U.S. population 16 years old and older, went hunting. They spent $34 billion on trips, equipment, licenses and other items in 2011, an average of $2,484 per hunter.
• More than 33 million people 16 and older fished in 2011, spending $41.8 billion on trips, equipment, licenses, and other items, an average of $1,262 per angler.
• More than 71 million people engaged in wildlife watching in 2011, spending $55 billion on their activities.
Read the report: Go to doi.gov/news.