Participation in wildlife-associated recreation increased in 28 states since 2006, according to the findings of the 2011 National Survey of Fishing, Hunting, and Wildlife-Associated Recreation State Overview Report released by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service last month.
"Hunting, fishing and wildlife watching are part of our national heritage, and the trip and equipment-related spending of participants' forms significant support for local economies across the country," said Fish and Wildlife Service Director Dan Ashe. "These survey results are good news for the small businesses and rural communities who depend on wildlife-related tourism, and it shows an encouraging increase in personal investment of citizens in the future of wildlife and wild places."
The State Overview Report is the second in a series of reports to be released by the Service over the next few months highlighting results from the National Survey. The National Survey, conducted since 1955, measures participation in these activities and related spending on trips and equipment across the nation and in individual states. The 2011 National Survey data show that hunters, anglers and wildlife watchers spent $145 billion last year on related gear, trips and other purchases such as licenses, tags and land leasing or ownership.
Highlights from report include:
- Of the 28 States with increases in the number of wildlife-related recreation participants from 2006 to 2011, the largest percentage increases were seen in Alaska (47%) and Louisiana (40%).
- South Dakota had the highest proportion of state residents who hunted (21%).
- Alaska had the highest proportion of state residents who fished (40%).
- Vermont had the highest proportion of state residents who wildlife watched (53%).
Overall, the 2011 Survey found that 38 percent of all Americans 16 years of age and older participated in wildlife-related recreation in 2011, an increase of 2.6 million participants from the previous survey in 2006. Participation in recreational fishing increased by 11% and hunting was up 9%. This increase reverses a trend over previous Surveys showing a 10% decline in hunting participation between 1996 and 2006. The 2011 Survey reports a corresponding increase in hunting equipment expenditures, which are up 29% from 2006.
The mission of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is working with others to conserve, protect, and enhance fish, wildlife, plants, and their habitats for the continuing benefit of the American people. The full report can be read at: http://library.fws.gov/Pubs/natsurvey2011-prelim-state.pdf.