From the USFWS website... they boil it all down to economics, of course, but maybe this means that President Obama and Congress will be less eager to pass laws that are detrimental to sportsmen? Maybe.
MILWAUKEE, WI – Highlighting the reversal of decades of declining numbers, Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar today announced the results of a comprehensive national survey of outdoor recreation showing a significant increase in hunters and a double-digit increase in anglers over the past five years.
“Seeing more people fishing, hunting, and getting outdoors is great news for America’s economy and conservation heritage,” said Salazar. “Outdoor recreation and tourism are huge economic engines for local communities and the country, so it is vital that we continue to support policies and investments that help Americans get outside, learn to fish, or go hunting. That is why, through President Obama’s America’s Great Outdoors initiative, we have been focused on helping Americans rediscover the joys of casting a line, passing along family hunting traditions, and protecting the places they love.”
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s 2011 National Survey of Fishing, Hunting, and Wildlife-Associated Recreation found that hunters nationwide increased by 9 percent while anglers grew by 11 percent. Nearly 38 percent of all Americans participated in wildlife-related recreation in 2011, an increase of 2.6 million participants from the previous survey in 2006. They spent $145 billion on related gear, trips and other purchases, such as licenses, tags and land leasing and ownership, representing 1 percent of the nation’s gross domestic product.
Other key findings include:
|• In 2011, 13.7 million people, 6 percent of the U.S. population 16 years old and older, went hunting. They spent $34.0 billion on trips, equipment, licenses, and other items in 2011, an average of $2,484 per hunter.|
|• More than 33 million people 16 and older fished in 2011, spending $41.8 billion on trips, equipment, licenses, and other items, an average of $1,262 per angler.|
|• More than 71 million people engaged in wildlife watching in 2011, spending $55.0 billion on their activities|
At the request of state fish and wildlife agencies, the Fish and Wildlife Service has been conducting the national survey every five years since 1955. It is viewed as one of the nation’s most important wildlife-related recreation databases and the definitive source of information concerning participation and purchases associated with hunting, fishing and other forms of wildlife-related recreation nationwide.