MISSOULA, Mont. -- A recent nationwide survey indicates 79 percent of Americans approve of hunting, marking a five percent increase from 2011 and the highest level since 1995. “Hunting is a way of life for many of us. Most Americans recognize and agree with that,” said David Allen, RMEF president and CEO.
“Hunting is conservation! It has a tremendous positive impact on wildlife and wildlife habitat.”
Responsive Management, a public opinion research organization focusing on natural resource and outdoor recreation issues, began to scientifically track nationwide hunting approval trends in 1995. The most recent finding of 79 percent is the highest percentage to date. Trends remain relatively steady over the years: 73 percent in 1995, 75 percent in 2003, 78 percent in 2006, 74 percent in 2011 and 79 percent in 2013.
The survey also found that more than half of Americans (52 percent) strongly approve of hunting (79 percent strongly or moderately approve) while 12 percent disapprove (strongly or moderately) of hunting. Another 9 percent gave a neutral answer.
The increase in acceptance may be linked to results from a U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service report (2011 National Survey of Fishing, Hunting and Wildlife-Associated Recreation, http://www.census.gov/prod/2012pubs/fhw11-nat.pdf) that shows hunting participation increased by 9 percent since 2006 while shooting participation increased 18 percent since 2009. Other Responsive Management studies on public opinion on hunting show the strongest correlation with the approval of hunting is knowing a hunter.
“Hunting has a tremendous and measurable link to conservation. Hunters deserve to be proud of their contributions to wildlife, habitat and resource management,” added Allen.
Hunting directly accounts for more than a million jobs in the US and creates an overall economy of $67 billion per year. Hunters provide the vast majority of funding that allows state wildlife agencies to successfully manage our wildlife resources through license sales and excise taxes on hunting equipment.
Conducted in February 2013, the Responsive Management survey randomly surveyed 1,306 Americans 18 years of age and older.