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National survey shows growth in wildlife-associated recreation


According to the findings of the 2011 National Survey of Fishing, Hunting, and Wildlife-Associated Recreation, participation in wildlife-associated recreation is on the rise across the country. Wildlife-associated recreation includes fishing, hunting, and wildlife viewing (observing, photographing, and feeding wildlife).

The survey revealed that 38 percent of all Americans 16 years of age and older participated in wildlife-related activities last year. Since the previous survey in 2006, participation in fishing is up 11 percent and recreational hunting has increased nine percent.

There was no significant change in the number of people who participated in wildlife viewing. The current increase in fishing and hunting participation contrasts sharply with the 10 percent decline that surveys show occurred from 1996-2006.

In 2011, 14 percent of the American population fished while six percent hunted.

Survey Background

The National Survey of Fishing, Hunting, and Wildlife-Associated Recreation has been conducted every five years since 1955. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service coordinated the 2011 survey that was administered by the U.S. Census Bureau, which conducted detailed interviews with nearly 50,000 households across America.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is releasing survey results in stages, and a final national report will be made this November, while the final state report will be presented in December.

National Averages

According to the current report for 2011, anglers spent an average of 17 days on the water, hunters spent an average of 21 days afield, and away-from-home wildlife watchers spent 15 days viewing wildlife. From a financial perspective, the average expenditure for an angler in 2011 was $1,262; the average expenditure for a hunter was $2,484; and the average expenditure for a wildlife watcher was $765.

State Perspective

Twenty-eight states saw an increase in the number of wildlife-related recreation participants in the past five years.

Leading the way were Alaska and Louisiana which had impressive 47 percent and 40 percent increases respectively. States with the highest percentage of residents who participated in wildlife-related recreation were South Dakota where 21 percent of the residents hunted, Alaska where 40 percent of the residents fished, and Vermont where 53 percent of the residents viewed wildlife.

New York State

Thirteen percent of state residents fished or hunted in 2011. Of that number, eight percent fished, one percent hunted, and three percent both fished and hunted. Individuals who participated in wildlife-associated recreation in New York in 2011 spent over nine billion dollars on their equipment and trips. Eighty-four percent of those who fished in the state were residents while 16 percent were non-residents. Ninety percent of the hunters were residents, and 10 percent were from out of state.

New York’s 1,882,000 in-state anglers rank the state third, behind Florida and Texas, in highest number of anglers. The state also ranks third, behind Texas and Wisconsin, in the highest number of in-state hunters with 823,000. Over four million residents watch wildlife, giving New York a number four ranking behind California, Texas, and Florida.

Fishing Quote

“One of the turning points of my life was when I got my first bait-casting outfit,” Jimmy Carter, 39th President of the United States.


Monday: Final trap shoot at Lisbon Sportsmen’s Club.

Wednesday: Waterfowl ID course at Chase Mills (Register at 705-5539).

Thursday: Ruffed Grouse Season opens in Northern Zone.

Thursday-Friday: Bowhunter education course at Fisher’s Landing (In-person registration at Clayton Library).

Saturday-Sunday: Youth waterfowl hunt in Northeastern Waterfowl Hunting Zone.

Sept. 25: Early Canada Goose Season closes in Northeast Goose Hunting Area.

Sept. 29: SLC Federation-sponsored youth pheasant hunt at Rensselaer Falls (375-8980).

Sept. 29-30: Youth pheasant hunt weekend in Northern New York.

Sept. 29-30: West Potsdam Fire Department’s annual gun show (268-0190).

Sept. 30: RVGD Club-sponsored soldier hunt at Basswood Lodge (393-5318).

Sept. 30: Frog Season closes in New York State.

Oct. 1: New license year begins in New York State.

Oct. 1: Last day to apply for deer management permits.

Oct. 1: Seasons open for cottontail rabbits, snowshoe hares, and pheasants in Northern Zone.

Oct. 6-8: Columbus Day Weekend youth deer hunt in Northern and Southern Zones.

Oct. 13: RVGDC-sponsored Ladies Pheasant Hunt at Rensselaer Falls (393-5318).

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