Wildlife-related outdoor recreation increased dramatically from 2006 to
2011. The national details are shown in the final report (Final Report)
of the 2011 National Survey of Fishing, Hunting, and Wildlife-Associated
Recreation released today by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service).
The Final Report, which follows the August 2012 Preliminary Review and the
September 2012 State Overview, provides more information on the types of
activities and money spent for fishing, hunting, and wildlife watching.
Highlights of the Final Report include:
More than 90 million U.S. residents 16 years old and older
participated in some form of wildlife-related recreation in 2011; that is
up 3 percent from five years earlier. The increase was primarily among
those who fished and hunted.
Wildlife recreationists spent $144.7 billion in 2011 on their
activities, which equated to 1 percent of the Gross Domestic Product. Of
the total amount spent, $49.5 billion was trip-related, $70.4 billion was
spent on equipment, and $24.8 billion was spent on other items such as
licenses and land leasing and ownership.
The number of sportspersons rose from 33.9 million in 2006 to 37.4
million in 2011. The data show that 33.1 million people fished, 13.7
million hunted, and 71.8 million participated in at least one type of
wildlife-watching activity such as observing, feeding and photographing
Other key findings include:
Fishing and Hunting
Of the 13.7 million hunters that took to the field in 2011, 11.6
million hunted big game, 4.5 million hunted small game, 2.6 million hunted
migratory birds, and 2.2 million other animals.
Of the 33.1 million anglers that fished, 27.5 million freshwater
fished and 8.9 million saltwater fished.
While 94% of the U.S. population 16 years of age and older resided
in metropolitan areas (50,000 and over populations), 89% of all anglers
and 80% of all hunters were metropolitan residents.
73% (24.2 million) of all anglers were male and 27% (8.9 million)
were female. 89% (12.2 million) of all hunters were males and 11% (1.5
million) were females.
Wildlife Watching Highlights
71.8 million U.S. residents observed, fed, and/or photographed
birds and other wildlife in 2011. Almost 68.6 million people wildlife
watched around their homes, and 22.5 million people took trips of at least
one mile from home to primarily wildlife watch.
Of the 46.7 million people who observed wild birds, 88% did so
around their homes and 38% on trips a mile or more from home.
Other types of wildlife also were popular for trip takers: 13.7
million people enjoyed watching land mammals such as bear, squirrel, and
buffalo. 4 million people watched marine mammals such as whales and
dolphins; 6.4 million enjoyed watching fish; and 10.1 million enjoyed
watching other wildlife such as butterflies.
People spent $54.9 billion on their wildlife-watching trips,
equipment, and other items in 2011. This amounted to $981 on average per
spender for the year.
At the request of state fish and wildlife agencies, the Fish and Wildlife
Service has been sponsoring the national survey every five years since
1955. It is viewed as one of the nation’s most important wildlife-related
recreation databases and the definitive source of information concerning
participation and purchases associated with hunting, fishing and other
forms of wildlife-related recreation nationwide.
The U.S. Census Bureau selected over 48,600 households across the country
to obtain samples of sportspersons and wildlife watchers for detailed
interviews. Information was collected through computer-assisted telephone
and in-person interviews. Starting in December 2012 through May 2013, the
State reports will be prepared for release on a rolling basis. The survey
is funded by Multi-State Conservation grants under the Wildlife and Sport
Fish Restoration Programs which celebrates 75 years of conservation
success in 2012.
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. We are both a
leader and trusted partner in fish and wildlife conservation, known for
our scientific excellence, stewardship of lands and natural resources,
dedicated professionals, and commitment to public service. For more
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