Forty-nine percent of all Maine residents 16 years of age and older hunted, fished or watched wildlife in 2011 and a total of $1.4 billion were spent in the state on those activities, according to a preliminary report by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
The National Survey of Fishing, Hunting and Wildlife-Associated Recreation, which is compiled every five years, looks at participation in and expenditures for hunting, fishing and wildlife watching by state, region and nation.
The preliminary survey also found that 1.1 million residents and nonresidents did some sort of wildlife-associated activity in Maine, including 838,000 wildlife watchers, 341,000 anglers and 181,000 hunters.
A total of $799 million were spent on wildlife watching in Maine, including $514 million in trip-related expenses and $172 million on equipment.
When it came to fishing and hunting, $644 million were spent in Maine, with $317 million going towards trips and $267 million being spent on equipment.
Residents and nonresidents spent a combined 7.3 million days watching wildlife away from their home, 3.9 million days fishing and 2.5 million days hunting in Maine.
Nationally, 38 percent of the U.S. population enjoyed some form of wildlife associated activity in 2011, spending a combined $145 billion on the activities.
The number of people who fished increased by 11 percent nationally between 2006 and 2011, while hunting participation increased by 9 percent during that time.
The U.S Fish and Wildlife Service started releasing the survey in 1955, making this the 12th version of it.
The final national report for 2011 will be available in November and final state reports will be released in December.
Logo courtesy Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife