Hunter, Angler Numbers Up Nationwide
Aug 15, 2012 Posted by Dawn Merritt
By Scott Kovarovics, Acting Executive Director, IWLA
We have some very good nationwide news about hunting and angling. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service reported today that the number of hunters grew 9 percent between 2006 and 2011 and the number of anglers jumped 11 percent over the same five-year period. The increase in hunter numbers is especially encouraging because there had been a persistent downward trend in participation over many years.
This isn’t only good news for our sports and conservation, it’s good news for our economy as well. The Fish and Wildlife Service found that Americans who hunt, fish, and watch wildlife injected $145 billion into our economy in 2011. This spending benefits companies large and small and communities across the nation.
And the growth in hunting and fishing only reinforces how important it is to conserve the land, water, and other natural resources that support abundant wildlife and high quality experiences. Protecting water quality in our streams, lakes, and rivers goes hand-in-hand with the best fishing. Robust waterfowl populations need healthy wetlands and grasslands across the country – in the northern plains in particular. We’ve made great progress in conserving and restoring these resources, but threats remain.
Clean Water Act protections for streams, lakes, and pothole wetlands have been dramatically weakened and faced a barrage of attacks in Congress this summer. Current agriculture policy, especially large subsidies for crop insurance premiums, undermines conservation goals and underwrites conversion of native grassland to crop production. Investment in habitat conservation through the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF), for example, is also threatened with deep reductions.
The trends reported today are encouraging and very positive. Efforts by states and hunting, angling, and conservation groups – including the League and our chapters nationwide – to recruit new hunters and anglers and mentor young people are paying off. With a renewed focus on conserving the habitat and resources essential to fish, wildlife, and outdoor recreation, we’ll see more Americans in deer stands and duck blinds and fishing in their favorite spots.
You can find more details about these trends in the “2011 National Survey of Fishing, Hunting, and Wildlife-Associated Recreation” National Overview (PDF link).
Photos courtesy of U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service