A troubling decline in participation in fishing and hunting reversed itself from 2006 to 2011, according to a report released last week by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USF&WS).
The 2011 National Survey of Fishing, Hunting, and Wildlife-Associated Recreation State Overview Report found participation in recreational fishing increased by 11 percent and hunting was up 9 percent during the period. This increase reverses a trend over previous surveys showing a 10 percent decline in hunting participation between 1996 and 2006. The 2011 Survey reports a corresponding increase in hunting equipment expenditures, which are up 29 percent from 2006.
Hunters, anglers and wildlife watchers spent $145 billion last year on related gear, trips and other purchases such as licenses, tags and land leasing or ownership, according to the report.
The report, which is produced every five years, provides national survey data on wildlife-related recreation at the state level, which helps state natural resource agencies to plan and provide wildlife-related recreation opportunities. USF&WS will begin releasing state report in December.
The report found that participation in wildlife-associated recreation increased in 28 states from 2006 to 2011. The largest percentage increases were seen in Alaska (47 percent) and Louisiana (40 percent). South Dakota had the highest proportion of state residents who hunted 21 percent. Alaska had the highest proportion of state residents who fished 40 percent. Vermont had the highest proportion of state residents who wildlife watched 53 percent.