Outdoors blog

Hunting, fishing trends pegged in national status report

OUTDOOR TRENDS  – The ebb and flow of hunting and fishing is detailed in a recently released federal report  on hunting and fishing statistics.  For example:

  • The number of turkey hunters has increased at more than twice the rate of the growth of the U.S. population since 1991.
  • The number of duck and deer hunters has remained stable since 1991.
  • Turkey hunters in 2006 went out twice as many days as they did in 1991, and the rates for duck and deer hunters going out also increased by 20 percent to 40 percent.
  • While the overall number of hunters has declined, most of this can be attributed to a large decrease in small game and dove hunting. Rabbit and squirrel hunting lost half their participants since 1991, which may indicate that new hunter recruitment is declining.
  • Fishing participation has dropped for both freshwater and saltwater angling and for nearly all species of fish, with the exception of flatfish.
  • Anglers have increased their average days of fishing, so overall fishing efforts remained stable.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has released a new report, "Trends in Fishing and Hunting 1991-2006: A focus on Fishing and Hunting by Species," that provides a detailed look at fishing and hunting by species and offers information on national and state fishing and hunting expenditures, participation rates and demographic trends. 

The 72-page report, an addendum to the 2006 National Survey of Fishing, Hunting and Wildlife Associated Recreation, represents a comprehensive survey conducted by the Service’s Wildlife Sport Fish and Restoration Program. Data used to support the study were obtained from 11 fishing and hunting surveys sponsored by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the Assn. of Fish and Wildlife Agencies.

Read on for quotes on the meaning of the report:

"We want reviewers of this research to understand that while the generalization that hunting and fishing are declining in popularity is often heard, this report shows that the truth is more complicated."

-- Richard Aiken, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service lead economist for the study.

"This report provides invaluable information on the state of hunting and fishing participation in America that will help state and federal agencies maintain and increase opportunities for hunting, sport fishing and recreational boating. I am encouraged by findings indicating that hunting and fishing participation rates are in many ways stronger and more resilient than previously believed."

--Hannibal Bolton, assistant director of the Wildlife Sport Fish and Restoration Program.




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Rich Landers
Rich Landers writes and photographs stories for a wide range of outdoors coverage, including a Sunday feature section and a Thursday column. He also writes the Outdoors Blog.

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