The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS, conducts the National Survey of Fishing, Hunting, and Wildlife Related Recreation every five years, most recently in 2012. According to the survey, 13.7 million people 16 years old and older hunt. Of those who hunt, 21% travel to other states to do so.

HUNTING in USA Photo Gallery

According to the FWS survey, 13.7 million hunters spend an average of 17 days hunting each year. Big game hunting is the most popular type of hunting, with almost

11.6 million hunters devoted to the sport. Small game hunting attracts 4.5 million to the activity, there are 2.6 million migratory bird hunters, and 2.2 million hunters seek other animals such as raccoons and feral pigs. Annual spending for these activities is as follows:

Big game: $16.9 billion

Small game: $ 2.6 billion

Migratory birds: $ 1.8 billion

Other animals: $ 0.9 billion

Nonspecific: $11.6 billion

Hunters spent more than $33.7 billion each year.

42.2 Hunting Trips

According to FWS, hunters take 257 million hunting trips each year. Trip-related spending on food, lodging, transportation, and other trip costs totals $10.4 billion. Distribution of trip-related expenditures is as follows:

Private transportation: $4.5 billion

Food: $3.8 billion

Lodging: $0.6 billion

Public transportation: $0.3 billion

Other trip costs: $1.8 billion

The average expenditure per hunter is $2,465.

Of the total number of hunters, 12.9 million hunt within their home state and 1.9 million hunt out of state.

Away-from-home participation rates by region is as follows:

East South Central: 11%

West North Central: 10%

East North Central: 7%

West South Central: 7%

Mountain: 6%

Middle Atlantic: 5%

New England: 4%

South Atlantic: 4%

Pacific: 3%

Comparing results from the 2007 FWS survey with those of the 2012 survey reveals the number of hunters increased by a modest 1% over the period. Hunting-related expenditures, however, increased 8.2% during the period.

42.3 Market Trends

From pheasant lodges in South Dakota to elk-hunting resorts in New Mexico, owners are renovating their facilities to be able to offer recreational activities for families and entice couples for romantic getaways. Corporate executives are increasingly buying properties to build outdoor resorts for business clients as well as for themselves and their families, according to Helen Sevier, publisher of Stratos, a magazine for corporate and private jet owners. Some 80% of Stratos readers hunt or fish.

More than 100 trade shows for hunting, fishing, and shooting fill U.S. convention halls, with exhibitor space growing 3% a year, according to Tradeshow Week magazine. The annual SHOT show, the largest of the hunting trade events, draws 40,000 people and 1,700 manufacturers to Las Vegas every February, according to the National Shooting Sports Foundation (, the event sponsor.

Cabela’s, Bass Pro Shops, Gander Mountain, and other outdoor sporting goods retailers are huge attractions. Some of the megastores boast forest and waterfall displays, gun and archery ranges, museum-like dioramas of wildlife, and huge aquariums.

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