In many countries, sporting activities such as hunting and fishing are no longer available for the average man.
In August, the Federal government released results of the National Survey of Fishing, Hunting, and Wildlife-Associated Recreation, which indicates that over 90 million Americans, or roughly 38 percent of the U.S. population age 16 and older, enjoyed some form of fishing, hunting or wildlife-associated recreation during the previous year.
The National Survey, conducted every five years, offers a snapshot of the contributions outdoor recreation provides to the national economy. According to the report, expenditures by hunters, anglers and wildlife related recreation accounted for over $145.0 billion, about 1 percent of gross domestic product. Over 37 million Americans participated in fishing, hunting or both sports in 2011 and they spent $43.2 billion on equipment, $32.2 billion on trips, and over $14.5 billion on licenses and fees, membership dues and contributions, land leasing and ownership, and plantings for hunting. On average, each sportsperson spent an estimated $2,407 in 2011.
Compared to the 2006 Survey, the number of anglers increased 11 percent, with the Great Lakes region experiencing a 17 percent increase in participation. Increases in saltwater and non-Great Lakes freshwater angling participation was 15 percent and 8 percent, respectively. Although the survey focuses on people 16 years of age and older who participated in wildlife-related recreation in 2011, it also includes some information on 6 to 15-year olds. Data reveals 1.8 million 6 to 15 year olds hunted, 8.5 million fished, and 11.7 million watched wildlife.
According to the research, 13.7 million people, about 6 percent of the U.S. population age 16 and older, went hunting in 2011. Hunters spent an average of 21 days pursuing wild game, and species like elk, deer and wild turkey attracted 11.6 million hunters (85 percent) who spent 212 million days afield.
Joe Hackett is a guide and sportsman residing in Ray Brook. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.