LAKE OCONEE —
Last week, I looked at what the future holds for fishing in the United States and this week I will take a look at what the future holds for hunting based on a recent survey completed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. The 2011 National Survey of Fishing, Hunting, and Wildlife Associated Recreation was the twelfth in a series of surveys that are conducted every five years.
The survey measured both participation and the money spent by those participating in those recreational activities. Details are collected more specifically about the number of participants based on type of activity, the trips and days spent on each activity, expenditures spent on each activity, number of participants and days of participation by the animals or fish sought and demographic characteristics (age, income, sex, race and education) of the participants.
The survey indicated that in 2011 that 90.1 million Americans or 38% of the U.S. population were involved in some form of fishing, hunting or other wildlife related recreation. The survey also indicated that outdoor recreation was a large contributor to the nation’s economy. Spending on those outdoor activities totaled $145 billion, which is about 1% of the total U.S. economy.
Those participating in hunting and fishing totaled about 37.4 million and they spent $43.2 billion on equipment, $32.2 billion on trips and $14.6 on things like licenses and fees, contributions, land leasing and plantings for hunting. The average amount of money spent by those enjoying these outdoor activities was over $2,400 per person.
Even though this particular 2011 survey only looked at people sixteen years and older, another recent survey has shown that 1.8 million six to 15 year olds hunted, 8.5 million fished and another 11.7 watched wildlife. All these numbers are positive indicators for the future of both hunting and fishing.
Looking more specifically this week at the U.S. Fish & Wildlife survey, we see a continued growth and interest in those outdoor activities associated with hunting. In 2011, 13.7 million people or 6% of the U.S. population sixteen and older are hunting and spent an average of 21 days hunting wild game. Big game like deer and turkey attracted the most hunters with 11.6 million hunters and those big game hunters spent a total of 212 days in the woods.
Another 4.5 million hunters pursued small game including squirrels, rabbits and quail. Some 2.6 million hunters attempted to harvest migratory birds like geese, ducks and doves. Even 2.2 million hunters engaged in the growing popularity of hunting other animals like coyotes, groundhogs and raccoons. There were no statistics on the number of hunters pursuing armadillos but I certainly encourage hunters to get involved in that pursuit and you can start those hunting activities in my yard.
Hunters spent $34 billion on hunting trips, equipment, licenses, leases and other items to support their hunting activities in 2011. One of the largest expenditures for hunters was for guns, camping equipment and 4-wheel drive vehicles.
One of the important items that caught my attention was the actual increased participation in hunting activities. Overall participation in hunting increased 9% between 2006 and 2011. The largest increases came from big game hunting and the hunting of migratory birds. The only type of hunting that saw a percentage decrease was hunting for small game and that was a very small decrease. Overall, all these numbers bode well for the future of hunting.
However, the future of hunting like that of fishing greatly depends on the current generation passing on the hunting tradition. Hunting is a wholesome activity so consider passing it on to your children and grandchildren. Good hunting and see you next week.