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Fishing and hunting growing in popularity, study shows

September 12, 2012|By Hugo Martin
  • Participation in hunting and fishing in the U.S. increased in 2011, according to a study by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
Participation in hunting and fishing in the U.S. increased in 2011, according… (Ken Hively/Los Angeles…)

Americans are getting out in nature in higher numbers, spending more time fishing and hunting, according to a new report from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

In 2011, 91.1 million Americans participated in some form of outdoor activity, a 4% increase from 2006, when that number was 87.5 million, according to the study released Wednesday.

The increase signals a reversal from earlier reports that showed Americans were spending less time outdoors as youngsters were distracted by other activities.

In 1994, 45.7 million Americans said they fished at least once. That number dropped to 41.2 million in 2004, according to a 2004 survey by the National Sporting Goods Assn. By comparison, 52.2 million Americans said they worked out with gym equipment in 2004 and 43.8 million bowled that year, the survey found.

The latest study by the Fish and Wildlife Service shows that the number of Americans who fish jumped 11% from 2006 to 2011 and the number of hunters rose 9% in the same period.

The highest participation rates in fishing in 2011 were in Alaska (40%), Minnesota (32%) and Mississippi and Wyoming (27%), according to the study. For hunters, the highest participation rates last year were South Dakota (21%), Alaska and Mississippi (20%) and Wyoming (18%).

In 2011, anglers and hunters spent a total of nearly $90 billion on equipment, travel and other expenses, while wildlife watchers, such as birders, spent about $55 billion last year, the study found.

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Follow Hugo Martin on Twitter at @hugomartin

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