Barbara Baird is a freelance writer in outdoor and travel markets. A former small-town newspaper editor and reporter, she constantly hunts for news headlines you need to read. Barbara also publishes Women’s Outdoor News online and pens columns for the National Wild Turkey Federation and Shooting Sports USA. Hailing from the Ozarks of Missouri, this avid hunter is now mentoring the second generation of hunters - her own little bevy of Realtree-wearing grandchildren.
Survey says hunter numbers up 9 percent
According to a preliminary report from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and Department of the Interior, hunters increased their ranks from 12.5 million in 2006 to 13.7 million in 2011. The USFWS conducts a national survey, underwritten by Pittman-Robertson Federal Aid dollars, to survey Americans who hunt, fish and pursue outdoor recreation, such as bird watching.
As noted, hunters increased their ranks by 9 percent. Angler numbers went up even more, by 11 percent. It’s heartening to know that 38 percent of Americans age 16 and older hunted, fished and/or enjoyed wildlife observations during the five-year period between 2006 and 2011. That means 37.4 million Americans hunted or fished or did both. They spent $43.2 billion on equipment, $32.2 billion on trips and $14.6 billion on licenses, fees, membership dues, leases, contributions and other requirements for successful outdoor experiences.
The Survey also collected information on the younger generation who participated in wildlife-related recreation, the 6- to 15-year-old group. It reports that of this group, 8.5 million fished, 1.8 million hunted and 11.7 million watched wildlife.
More data from this survey, some state specific, will be released in the near future. Read the 2011 National Survey of Fishing, Hunting, and Wildlife-Associated recreation report.
I feel it. I feel the traction we’re getting through outdoor education programs, shooting and hunting workshops and generally, making the outdoors a more-user friendly and accessible place. How about you? Are you optimistic about the future of our tradition of hunting and fishing after reading this news?