The number of hunters age 16 and older in the United States increased 9 percent between 2006 and 2011, reversing a previous downward trend, a preliminary report from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) and Department of the Interior shows.
Preliminary figures show an increase from 12.5 million hunters in 2006 to 13.7 million in 2011. Final data will be included in the upcoming USFWS 2011 National Survey Report. USFWS has conducted a national survey every five years since 1955, with the last being the 2006 National Survey, released in 2007.
“This increase in hunters mirrors what our members are telling us — strong sales to an expanding consumer base,” said Steve Sanetti, president of the National Shooting Sports Foundation, the trade association for the firearms, ammunition, hunting and shooting sports industry. “There is increased interest in firearm ownership — from customers new to the market to existing customers looking for the newest products. Purchases are being made for the enjoyment of recreational target shooting sports — such as sporting clays, IDPA and 3-gun competitions — as well as for personal protection, and, as these figures show us, for hunting.”
The preliminary report also shows that hunters spent an average of 21 days pursuing wild game in 2011. Additionally, the report shows that hunters spent $34 billion on trips, firearms and equipment, licenses and other items to support their hunting activities in 2011.
The national survey is paid for by sportsmen through the use of Pittman-Robertson Federal Aid dollars. This year is significant as it is the 75th anniversary of the Pittman-Robertson Federal Aid in Wildlife Restoration Act.