September 18, 2012
Since 2006, participation in wildlife-associated recreation increased in 28 states according to results from the 2011 National Survey of Fishing, Hunting, and Wildlife-Associated Recreation State Overview Report released by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. These findings follow up the National Overview Report released by the Service last month, which indicated an 11-percent increase in the number of anglers and nine-percent increase in hunters.
Highlights from the State Overview Report:
• Of the 28 states with increases in the number of wildlife-related recreation participants from 2006 to 2011, the largest percentage increases were seen in Alaska (47 percent) and Louisiana (40 percent).
• 21% of South Dakotans, 20% of Alaskans and 20% of Mississippians over the age of 16 hunt
• 40% of Alaskans and 32% of Minnesotans over the age of 16 fish
• Vermont had the highest proportion of state residents who wildlife watched–53%– followed by West Virginia at 51%
• The top five states with the highest numbers of hunters are Texas (1.1M), Wisconsin (895,000), New York (823,000), Pennsylvania (775,000) and Missouri (576,000)
• The top five states with the highest numbers of anglers are Florida (3M), Texas (2.2M), New York (1.8M), Michigan (1.7M) and California (1.67M)
• The top five states with the highest numbers of wildlife viewers are California (6.7M), Texas (4.37M), Florida (4.3M), New York (4.2M) and Pennsylvania (3.6M)
“The State by State data from the National Survey is where the rubber meets the road for state fish and wildlife agencies,” said Dr. Jonathan Gassett, Commissioner of the Kentucky Fish and Wildlife Resources Commission and 2011-2012 President of the Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies. “These results help each state set the course for future fish and wildlife conservation and they help quantify the results of investments that each state has made in its wildlife-related recreation programs, especially hunter and angler recruitment and retention programs.”
The National Survey, conducted since 1955, measures participation in hunting, fishing and wildlife viewing and related spending on trips and equipment across the nation and in individual states. The 2011 National Survey data show that 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.
“Hunting, fishing and wildlife watching are part of our national heritage, and the trip and equipment-related spending of participants’ forms significant support for local economies across the country,” said U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Director Dan Ashe. “These survey results are good news for the small businesses and rural communities who depend on wildlife-related tourism, and it shows an encouraging increase in personal investment of citizens in the future of wildlife and wild places.”
The 2011 National Survey was requested by the Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies, coordinated by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s National Survey Branch of the Wildlife and Sport Fish Restoration Program and administered by the U.S. Census Bureau. The Census Bureau conducted detailed interviews from individuals at 48,627 households across the country to obtain samples of sportspersons and wildlife watchers. The Survey is funded through a Multi-State Conservation Grant from the Wildlife and Sport Fish Restoration Program, which celebrates 75 years of conservation success in 2012.
Results from the 2011 National Survey are being released in phases – the first report was issued in August 2012 and presented data for the nation as a whole. The final national report will be available in November 2012, and the detailed 50 state reports will be issued on a rolling basis beginning in December 2012.
The full State Overview Report can be downloaded at http://library.fws.gov/Pubs/natsurvey2011-prelim-state.pdf.
The National Overview Report can be downloaded at
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