More Americans are heading outdoors to hunt and fish for fun, reversing a two-decade-long decline among adults.
Eleven percent more Americans (ages 16 and older) fished and 9% more hunted in 2011 than in 2006, according to a new five-year survey from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
The kids are going, too. Of those ages 6 to 15, 13% more hunted (from 1.6 million to a record 1.8 million) and 2% more fished (from 8.3 million to 8.5 million) during the same period.
Higher participation numbers aren’t due to U.S. population growth, because even the share of adult Americans who hunted (6% last year) or fished (14%) were each up one percentage point from 2006 — the first such shift in 20 years.
“What we see is a pretty significant change in direction,” said Dan Ashe, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) director, noting declines in prior surveys since 1991. He said the specific causes for the reversal won’t be spelled out until the final report is issued later this year, but added, “There’s a growing realization that doing things outdoors is healthy.”