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Report spots national hunting, fishing trends

The ebb and flow of hunting and fishing is detailed in a recently released federal report on statistics for those outdoor sports.  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.

• The overall number of hunters has declined, mostly because of a large decrease in small game and dove hunting. Rabbit and squirrel hunting lost half its participants since 1991, which may indicate a decline in new hunter recruitment.

• 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.

These and other trends are detailed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in a recently released report, “Trends in Fishing and Hunting 1991-2006: A focus on Fishing and Hunting by Species” (

“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 the truth is more complicated,” said Richard Aiken, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service lead economist for the study.

This 72-page update to the 2006 National Survey of Fishing, Hunting and Wildlife Associated Recreation provides a look at fishing and hunting by species and offers information on national and state fishing and hunting expenditures, participation rates and demographic trends. 

Data used to support the study was obtained from 11 fishing and hunting surveys sponsored by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies.

“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,” said Hannibal Bolton, of the Wildlife Sport Fish and Restoration Program.

“I am encouraged by findings indicating that hunting and fishing participation rates are in many ways stronger and more resilient than previously believed.”