Over 4.5 million (33 percent) pursued small game including squirrel, rabbit, quail, and pheasants for 51 million hunting days. Migratory game birds, such as geese, ducks and doves, attracted 2.6 million hunters (19 percent) who spent 23 million days hunting.
Hunting for other animals such as coyotes, groundhogs and raccoons attracted 2.2 million hunters (16 percent) who spent 34 million days afield.
Combined, hunters spent $34.0 billion on equipment, licenses, and other items to support their hunting activities in 2011. The average expenditure per hunter was $2,484. Total trip-related expenditures comprised 31 percent of all spending at $10.4 billion.
Other expenditures, such as licenses, stamps, land leasing and ownership, and plantings totaled $9.6 billion, 28 percent of all spending. Spending on equipment such as guns, camping equipment, and 4-wheel drives comprised 41 percent of spending with $14 billion.
Overall hunting participation increased 9 percent from 2006 to 2011. The numbers of big game hunters rose 8 percent, migratory bird hunters increased 13 percent, while hunters seeking other animals increased by 92 percent.
In order to provide an appropriate perspective for all of the male hunters and anglers who are sure to be asked about their expensive hobbies; cosmetic industry statistics indicate American women spend an average of nearly $12,000 annually on beauty products and grooming. That should account for a lot of rods, reels, guns and ammunition, and at least a few nights comfortably ensconced in camp.
Joe Hackett is a guide and sportsman residing in Ray Brook. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.