Statement from the Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies on the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's Preliminary Report on the 2016 National Survey of
Fishing, Hunting and Wildlife-Associated Recreation

September 7, 2017

The Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies is pleased to see the preliminary report on the 2016 National Survey of Fishing, Hunting, and Wildlife-Associated Recreation, recently released by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Preliminary survey data indicates that 101.6 million Americans (40% of the U.S. population 16 years and older) participated in wildlife-related recreation in 2016 and spent $156 billion on these activities. The initial findings indicate an eight-percent increase in the number of anglers and a 20-percent increase in the number of wildlife watchers since the survey was last conducted in 2011. 
“Outdoor recreation is one of our nation’s largest economic engines. It touches all American’s, from small rural towns to those living in bustling cities,” said Nick Wiley, President of the Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies and Executive Director of the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission. “Hunting, fishing and wildlife watching are part of our national heritage and continue to be powerful force in our nation’s economy.”
Through our partner, the Council to Advance Hunting and the Shooting Sports, the Association is engaging our state, federal and NGO partners to implement a National Hunting and Shooting Sports Action Plan aimed at increasing hunting and recreational shooting participation. Through these cooperative efforts we are working to reverse the trend of weaker hunting participation that is indicated in the 2016 survey.
In an effort to constantly find ways to improve the survey and make it more cost effective the Association will perform an evaluation of the 2016 survey. Alternative surveys of states will be incorporated into a report to be released in early 2018 intended to guide the implementation of future surveys
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has sponsored the national survey every five years since 1955 in full partnership with state fish and wildlife agencies. It is viewed as one of the nation’s most important wildlife-related recreation databases and the definitive source of economic information related to hunting, fishing and other forms of wildlife-related recreation nationwide.