FWS reports that according to The State Overview Report, participation in wildlife-associated recreation increased in 28 states¬†since 2006. The State¬†Overview Report is the second in a series of reports to be released by¬†the Service over the next few months highlighting results from the¬†National Survey.
Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar released the first report on August¬†15, 2012.¬†¬†The National Survey, conducted since 1955, measures¬†participation in these activities 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.
‚ÄúHunting, 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,‚Äù said¬†Fish and Wildlife Service Director Dan Ashe. ‚ÄúThese 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.‚Äù
Public lands managed by federal and state agencies support much of the¬†fishing, hunting, and wildlife-associated recreation that Americans¬†enjoy. The State Overview, released today, 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.
‚ÄúThe State by State data from the National Survey is where the rubber¬†meets the road for state fish and wildlife agencies,‚Äù said Dr. Jonathan¬†Gassett, Commissioner of the Kentucky Fish and Wildlife Resources¬†Commission and President of the Association of Fish and Wildlife¬†Agencies. ‚ÄúThese 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.‚Äù
Highlights from this overview include the following information:
- 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).
- 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.
Overall, the 2011 Survey found that 38 percent of all Americans 16 years¬†of age and older participated in wildlife-related recreation in 2011, an¬†increase of 2.6 million participants from the previous survey in 2006.¬†Participation in recreational fishing increased by 11 percent and hunting¬†was up 9 percent.¬†¬†This increase reverses a trend over previous Surveys¬†showing a 10% 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.
Through landmark conservation laws supported by American sportsmen and¬†women, funds collected by states through the sale of hunting and fishing¬†licenses are combined with federal funds from excise tax on sporting arms and ammunition and on angling equipment to pay for fish and wildlife¬†conservation and associated recreational opportunities. Together, these¬†laws support the Wildlife and Sport Fish Restoration Programs, first¬†established 75 years ago.¬†¬†Since then, hunters and anglers have paid more¬†than $11 billion in excise taxes on purchases of firearms, ammunition,¬†archery, fishing and boating equipment toward thousands of conservation¬†projects, wildlife-associated recreational opportunities and access, and¬†sport shooting ranges around the nation.¬†¬†The National Survey of Fishing, Hunting, and Wildlife-Associated¬†Recreation, conducted every five years since 1955, has become one of the¬†most important sources of information on fish and wildlife recreation in¬†the United States. Federal, State, and private organizations use the¬†rigorously compiled and detailed information to manage wildlife and¬†wildlife-related recreation programs, market products, and forecast¬†trends in participation and economic impacts.
The 2011 report was requested by the Association of Fish and Wildlife¬†Agencies, coordinated by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service‚Äôs 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.¬†Information was collected through computer-assisted telephone and¬†in-person interviews. The Survey is funded through a Multi-State¬†Conservation Grant from the Wildlife and Sport Fish Restoration Program
.¬†¬†The Survey is 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¬†state reports will be issued on a flow basis beginning in December 2012.¬†¬†¬†¬†The full State Overview Report can be downloaded