New Strength in Numbers

There's a lot of money spent on hunting trips. (Mike Suchan photo)

Reversing trend, numbers for hunters, anglers increase

LAS VEGAS – It appears there's new life in the great outdoors. Some of the best news from the 2013 SHOT Show was unveiled in a mountain of statistics Thursday. Hunters and anglers have more strength in these new numbers.

U.S. hunters increased nine percent and anglers were up 11 percent in 2011. It marks the first reversal in recent history's downward trends.

The Congressional Sportsmen's Foundation (CSF) and the National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF) revealed the results from the latest statistics available. They were combined with a previously released report from the American Sportfishing Association (ASA).

Maybe it's a sign that people got back to the basics of life after the economy tanked. But that's probably reading too much into these numbers. The increases may reflect simply added scrutiny. It was noted during Thursday's press conference that an unprecedented $13 million was spent in compiling the CSF and NSSF reports.

The good news could prove invaluable. In quantifying the time and money spent by those who enjoy the outdoors, a voice for the future was amplified.

"Many people may not fully comprehend how important hunting and fishing are to the fabric of this country," CSF president Jeff Crane said. "The (annual spending) would rank No. 24 on the Fortune 500 list."

That was part of the purpose here: "Providing real-world comparisons to what many consider more mainstream industries and activities," according to Crain.

For example, anglers spent $47.7 billion in 2011, which was more than the revenue of aerospace/defense giant Lockheed-Martin ($46.9 billion) the same year. The 15.5 million U.S. hunters would fill every NASCAR track, NFL stadium, MLB ballpark, NBA arena and NHL rink – two times over.

Equal in importance, the latest stats demonstrate how much we care about protecting the outdoors.

That last point is often overlooked. Hunters and anglers paid $3 billion in 2011 for conservation and restoration efforts. Those dollars were the result of license and stamp fees, federal excise taxes on hunting and fishing equipment and membership contributions to conservation organizations.

Another $11 billion was spent by private landowners and leaseholders for habitat acquisition and restoration.

All that money represents astonishing passion, previously underappreciated.

"Put your money where your mouth is" — that's a common expression used when questioning anyone's commitment.

Uncommonly, it seems we've been putting more money than mouth in support of the outdoors. That voice was amplified Thursday.

Recommended for You


State Records Reported in Maryland, Michigan

G&F Online Staff - May 23, 2019

It must be time for summer fishing because records are falling everywhere.


MidwayUSA Pro Series Shooting Mat

G&F Staff

Shooters across the U.S. are using this competition shooting mat.

Fishing How-To

Your Guide for the Best Catfish Baits

G&F Staff

If you've been catching catfish with the same method for years, it's time to change it up and...

See More Recommendations

Trending Stories


12 Great Catfish Baits

Jeff Samsel

Dozens of different bait types are commonly used for catfish, including these five great...


Catfish Night & Day: How to Catch 'Em Both Ways

Terry Madewell - April 04, 2018

Catfish tend to be found in shallower water at night, but they are still active during the...


4 Tips When Jig Fishing For Bass

Chris Schneider - August 25, 2015

A 7 pound giant taken on a jig during the pre-spawn transistion in the Midwest. Although...

See More Stories

More Stories


Coyote Calling Tips for Hunting at Close Range

Tim Lilley - January 09, 2014

Brian Meyer likes to have coyotes within 20 yards! He uses an SKB shotgun for his coyote...


Game & Fish's Top 10 Stories of 2018

G&F Online Staff - December 24, 2018

From a world-record crappie to the best gear of the year, these hunting and fishing articles...


Arizona Mountain Lion Hunt Turns Into Dangerous Jaguar Encounter

Aaron Decker - November 30, 2011

A father and daughter with their dogs on a dry ground mountain lion hunt get more than they...

See More Stories

GET THE MAGAZINE Subscribe & Save

Temporary Price Reduction


Give a Gift   |   Subscriber Services


GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.