National Survey Evaluates Importance of Hunting, Fishing and Wildlife Watching

Every five years, a national survey of fishing, hunting and wildlife-associated recreation is conducted to measure the importance of wildlife-based recreation. The survey evaluates the value of these activities to people and to the economy. The preliminary findings of the 2011 National Survey were released in August 2012 and a complimentary state overview was released in September 2012, both by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. The final reports are expected to be available this month (November 2012) for the national overview and December 2012 for the state overview.

The 2011 survey is the twelfth in a series that have been conducted since 1955. Results are based on data collected by the U.S. Census Bureau. The Census Bureau contacted almost 50,000 households (over 16,000 potential anglers and hunters and almost 14,000 potential wildlife viewers) for detailed interviews which were conducted between April 2011 and May 2012.

According to the preliminary findings from the National Survey, 90 million people (4.6 million in Florida), 38 percent of all Americans age 16 and older (31% in Florida), participated in wildlife-related recreation in 2011 and spent $145 billion dollars ( $9.1 billion in Florida), supporting thousands of jobs in industries and businesses connected to fishing, hunting and wildlife-associated recreation.

Almost 37.4 million Americans (3.2 million in Florida) participated in fishing, hunting or both sports in 2011, spending $43.2 billion on equipment ($2 billion in Florida), $32.2 billion on trips ($3.1 billion in Florida), and $14.6 billion on licenses and fees, membership dues, land leasing and ownership, and plantings for hunting ($983 million in Florida).
Looking at fishing alone, 33.1 million people 16 years and older participated in fishing during 2011 (3.1 million in Florida). Anglers fished an average of 17 days, with Freshwater (excluding the Great Lakes) attracting 27.1 million anglers, the Great Lakes alone attracting 1.7 million and saltwater attracting 8.9 million anglers. Anglers spent $41.8 billion on trips, equipment, licenses and other items to support their fishing activities in 2011 ($4.6 billion in Florida). Comparing the 2011 National Survey to the 2006 one shows the number of anglers increased by 11%. In Florida, 61% of all anglers age 16 and older who fished in State during 2011 were State residents.

Wildlife watching in the U.S. was conducted by nearly 71.8 million people, 30 percent of all Americans age 16 or over in 2011 (4.3 million in Florida). Wildlife watchers spent $55 billion on their activities ($3 billion in Florida). Overall expenditures related to wildlife watching increased 7% from 2006 to 2011 and 13% from 2001 to 2011.

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