Interest in wildlife is growing in the United States

  • Article by: PAUL A. SMITH , Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
  • Updated: January 9, 2013 - 6:42 PM
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In this file photo, members of the University of Minnesota Bass Fishing Club fished Bald Eagle Lake in White Bear Township.

Photo: Marlin Levison, Star Tribune

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More Americans hunted, fished and watched wildlife in 2011 than five years ago, according to final statistics released in December by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

"This is good news for our lifestyles and our economy," said Dan Ashe, director of the service.

The agency has conducted the outdoor participation survey every five years since 1955.

The results are the first in a decade to show an increase in hunters and anglers.

The biggest takeaways

• More than 90 million U.S. residents age 16 and older participated in some form of wildlife-related recreation in 2011. The increase primarily was among those who fished (up 11 percent from 2006) and hunted (up 9 percent).

• Of the 13.7 million hunters who took to the field in 2011, 11.6 million hunted big game, 4.5 million hunted small game, 2.6 million hunted migratory birds and 2.2 million other animals.

• Big-game hunters spent an average of $1,457 per person on hunting-related expenses in 2011.

• The largest subgroup of wildlife watchers was the 46.7 million bird watchers (17.8 million of them made trips to watch birds away from home).

• The survey found 73 percent (24.2 million) of anglers were male, and 27 percent (8.9 million) were female. Among hunters, 89 percent (12.2 million) were male, and 11 percent (1.5 million) were female.

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