News

America’s Hunter and Angler Numbers on the Rise–along with Their Economic Power

HuntingTimber2011 (2) (1)

The Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation (CSF) recently produced their 2013 Sportsmen’s Economic Impact Report (pdf) on the number of hunters and anglers in the United Sates and the tremendous economic impact they have on our nation’s economy. The data for the report was compiled from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s National Survey of Fishing, Hunting and Wildlife Associated Recreation and the results were astounding. The Fish and Wildlife Service’s report is put together every five years, and additional economic figures for the CSF document were compiled by Southwick Associates with funding from the National Shooting Sports Foundation and the American Sportfishing Association.

The report’s numbers are encouraging for hunters. In 2011, 37.4 million Americans over the age of 16 spent time afield hunting or on America’s waters fishing. This is equivalent to the entire population of the state of California. The year also saw an increase in the number of hunters and anglers for the first time in recent history.

Roughly 13.7 million people over the age of 16 hunted in the United States in 2011. If you were to add those under the age of 16, another 1.8 million, the number increases to 15.5 million. Before adding the youth hunters to the overall numbers, that is an increase of 9% overall since 2006. Hunters across America spent $38.3 billion in 2011, that’s more than the revenues for Comcast in the same year.

Some other hunting highlights include:

  • Trip-related expenses paid by hunters in mainly rural areas came to $10.4 billion, which is more than the total movie box office gross in 2011.
  • Hunters spent $6 billion on items like guns, ammunition, and archery equipment–the same amount spent on all bicycle sales in the U.S. in 2011.
  • The number of America’s hunters over the age of 6, 15.5 million, could fill every NFL stadium, NBA arena, MLB ballpark, NHL rink, and NASCAR track in the country more than twice.
  • Hunters’ contribution to the conservation of wildlife habitat in 2011 totaled $8 billion to lease, own, and cultivate lands for hunting purposes.

Angling is on the rise too, according to the report. In 2011, 33.1 million Americans over the age of 15 fished, if you add in the younger anglers from the ages of 6 to 15, another 8.5 million, the total grows to 41.6 million people. The over-15 number shows an increase of 11% since the last survey was compiled just five years ago. Fishing contributed $61.7 billion to the United States economy in 2011.

More notable fishing details were laid out as well, including:

  • In 2011, America’s anglers spent $1.5 billion on bait, $142 million on tackle boxes, $2.37 billion on rods and reels, $593 million on lines and leaders, $628 million on hooks and sinkers, and $1.17 billion on artificial lures.
  • The 2011 trip-related expenditures of $21.8 billion spent by anglers equates to more than the combined revenues for all major professional sports leagues–the MLB, NHL, NBA, and the NFL–for the same year.
  • America’s anglers support 828,133 jobs across the United States. This is considerably more than 761,000 employed by McDonald’s nationally.
  • America’s fishermen and women paid $8.2 billion dollars in federal taxes in 2011, this would pay the salaries of 410,000 active duty privates in the U.S. Army.

When you add these numbers up, hunters and anglers contributed $90 billion to the U.S. economy in a period of one of the greatest economic depressions in American history. That equates to around $2,407 spent per hunter and angler, and the total is more than the global sales of Apple’s iPhone and iPad.

Benefits from this spending were felt in rural communities where hunters and anglers hunt and fish, and in companies within cities across the nation that produce the equipment that they buy to pursue their sport. Hunters and anglers have always been among the largest contributors to conservation and 2011 was no exception. In 2011, sportsmen and women contributed more than $3 billion towards conservation, including the purchase of licenses, stamps, excise taxes, motorboat fuel, and contributions to conservation organizations.

The demographic of America’s hunters and fishermen is varied and different as the nation itself. Hunters and anglers come from rural and urban settings from every socio-economic level and every state in the union. This report shows that undeniably, hunting and fishing are huge and important parts of our economy and that America’s sportsmen and sportswomen have one important thing in common–a great passion for America’s wild places and the wildlife that inhabits those places.

Images courtesy Andy McDaniels

Any views or opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not reflect those of OutdoorHub. Comments on this article reflect the sole opinions of their writers.
  • Allen Whitaker

    Very cool, this is really good news. What a huge boost to the economy! It is good to see you on here again.

    • Andy and Tami

      Thanks Allen, its good to be back on! I agree this is “Really good News”

  • Jake

    It sure is nice to see the numbers of Hunters and Fisherman finally getting larger again.

    • Andy and Tami

      It has been a long time since we have seen an increase, I hope that we see it grow even more in the coming years.

  • Otis Williams

    Good Stuff! Thank you for getting this word out.

    • Andy and Tami

      Thanks Otis!

  • Billy

    We need to get these people united, and working towards conservation and stopping that gun control stuff.

    • Andy and Tami

      I couldn’t agree more!

  • Mack

    I especially like the gun sales part.

    • Andy and Tami

      LOL, it was nice to see that for sure.

  • Jeb

    Great article, this is really important information to get out to the public.

    • Andy and Tami

      I agree, it shows how important the hunting and fishing community is to America’s economy.

  • Bud

    The decline of the bobwhite quail and other species are making a tremendous economic impact in Oklahoma and in other parts of the south, Its time to start uniting for Conservation.

    • Andy and Tami

      I have been watching the decline of the Bobwhite and it is most definitely having an impact on hunting in Oklahoma and the South. Your right we need to unite and we cant wait, now is the time.

  • RCarpenter

    This is wonderful news, hunters and anglers need to stand together for our second amendment rights.

    • Andy and Tami

      I think that many are doing that now, it will be very interesting to see how this debate plays out.

  • Hank

    Wake up politicians hunters and fishermen are a force like none other in this country. We are a huge force in America’s economy, and we will be heard.

    • Andy and Tami

      Now that’s the ticket! We need to all band together and conservation will be a national issue.

  • RyanStultz

    This is AWESOME!!!

    • Andy and Tami

      The best news I have seen in a very long time

  • Mason

    We as hunter and fishermen are an important part of the US economy, people need to recognize this.

    • Andy and Tami

      You hit the nail on the head, those kinds of numbers are really important when talking to your Senator or Congressman.

  • Austin

    America’s politicians need to leave our guns alone, hunting is helping drive the economy.

    • Andy and Tami

      That’s a good question, I think we all need to think of the big picture and that things like clean air and water are the basis for everything else that we love.

  • Robert

    How do we get these people all working together? These numbers are unbelievable.

  • Abby

    Thank goodness! I am really glad your back on here, when are we going to see more from Tami? You guys are great.

    • Andy and Tami

      Thanks Abby, Tami just had an article published and I think you will be seeing more from her in the near future.

  • Sam

    That’s me in that picture, I’m famous.

    • Andy and Tami

      Squirt! I remember the day I took that picture!

  • Tom

    This is really good news.

    • Andy and Tami

      It sure is!

  • D Farbz

    This is AWESOME!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! It makes damn good sense too!!!!!!!!!!!! Power to the outdoors and all it is!!!!!!! Love to see something primal grow, something which is connected to nature and purity.

    • Andy and Tami

      Thank you for your comment I love reading your stories. This is so important to us all, if we could ever unite folks in the hunting and fishing world behind conservation think of what we could accomplish.

  • matt

    Great overview on a report detailing the consumer spending within the hunting and fishing industry. What would be a good segue from this information, for consumers, is researching the top ten companies in each consumption category with whether or not they manufacture their products here in the United States and if they donate money into conservation programs within our continent. Creating solutions with who you buy from solidifies these dollar figures into a winning combination not only for our economy but for our pastimes that we seek to protect.

    • Andy and Tami

      Thanks Matt, I think your absolutely right!

  • Kanon

    I would like to get my hands on that report if I can. I’m researching a particular niche within the hunting industry and I’m having a difficult time finding what I need.