Fish and Wildlife Service Issues New Report On Hunting and Fishing Trends

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has released a new report, Trends in Fishing and Hunting 1991-2006: A focus on Fishing and Hunting by Species,that provides a detailed look at fishing and hunting by species and offers a wealth of information on national and state fishing and hunting expenditures, participation rates, and demographic trends.

The new report, an addendum to the2006 National Survey of Fishing, Hunting and Wildlife Associated Recreation, represents a comprehensive survey conducted by the Service’s Wildlife Sport Fish and Restoration Program (WSFR). Data used to support the study were obtained from eleven fishing and hunting surveys sponsored by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies (AFWA).

“This report provides invaluable information on the state of hunting and fishing participation in America that will help state and federal agencies maintain and increase opportunities for hunting, sport fishing and recreational boating,” said Hannibal Bolton, assistant director of the Service’s Wildlife Sport Fish and Restoration Program. “I am encouraged by findings indicating that hunting and fishing participation rates are in many ways stronger and more resilient than previously believed.”

The following details are among highlights contained in the report:

  • The number of turkey hunters has increased at more than twice the rate of the growth of the U.S. population since 1991.
  • The number of duck and deer hunters has been stable since 1991.
  • Turkey hunters in 2006 went out twice as many days as they did in 1991.  The rates for duck and deer hunters going out more days have also increased – by 20 to 40 percent.
  • While the overall number of hunters has declined, most of this drop can be attributed to a large decrease in small game and dove hunting. Rabbit and squirrel hunting have lost half their participants since 1991, which may indicate that recruitment of new hunters is declining.
  • For fishing, participation has dropped for nearly all types of fishing (i.e., freshwater and saltwater) and species of fish. One species for which fishing hasn’t significantly dropped is flatfish.
  • The declining numbers of anglers have increased their average days of fishing so that overall fishing effort has remained stable.

“We want reviewers of this research to understand that while the generalization that hunting and fishing are declining in popularity is often heard, this report shows that the truth is more complicated,” said Richard Aiken, the Service’s lead economist for the study. “This report aids those who want to point to positive aspects of participation in fishing and hunting in the U.S., and how recruitment and retention efforts can be designed to appeal to the correct demographic groups.”

To download a complete copy of the report please visit

The mission of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is to work with others to conserve, protect and enhance fish, wildlife, plants and their habitats for the continuing benefit of the American people.  We are both a leader and trusted partner in fish and wildlife conservation, known for our scientific excellence, stewardship of lands and natural resources, dedicated professionals and commitment to public service. For more information on our work and the people who make it happen, visit


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