Sunday, September 23, 2012

Survey: Hunters, anglers aren’t afraid to spend money

By Bob Frye Pittsburgh Tribune Review

Pennsylvanians like their wildlife. And those who hunt and fish in particular aren’t afraid to spend money on it. 
The 2011 National Survey of Fishing, Hunting and Wildlife-Associated Recreation is proof of that.

The survey came out a few weeks ago. More recently, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, which puts it together every five years, released some more state-specific details.
They don’t address Pennsylvania or any other state alone. Results of that kind will be forthcoming in the next several starting in December.

But the most recent data released shows that participation in wildlife-associated recreation — hunting, fishing and wildlife watching — increased in 28 states between 2006-11. The Mid-Atlantic region, which includes Pennsylvania, saw increases in the number of hunters, anglers and wildlife watchers.

Pennsylvania ranked fourth in the nation in the number of hunters with about 775,000 in 2011, the report adds. Only Texas, Wisconsin and New York, in that order, had more.
The state also ranked fifth in number of wildlife watchers, with nearly 3.6 million. California, Texas, Florida and New York ranked one through four, respectively.

Sportsmen have been growing as a percentage of the overall population, the report states. Hunters and anglers spend lots of money, too, far more than the typical wildlife watcher, the report adds.

“Examination of expenditures shows that while sportspersons are a smaller proportion of all recreationists, they spend almost twice as much in total as wildlife watchers. About two thirds of all wildlife-related expenditures have been for hunting and/or fishing in 2006 and 2011,” the report reads.

The average angler nationwide spent $1,262 in 2011, the average hunter $2,484. The average wildlife watcher, by comparison, spent $765.

“These preliminary regional and state-level estimates illustrate the continued importance and impact of fish and wildlife resources to each state, region and the nation as a whole,” the report reads.

Overall, the survey found that 38 percent of all Americans 16 years of age and older participated in wildlife-related recreation in 2011, an increase of 2.6 million people over 2006. Participation in fishing increased by 11 percent and in hunting by 9 percent.

“Hunting, fishing and wildlife watching are part of our national heritage, and the trip- and equipment-related spending of participants forms significant support for local economies across the country,” Fish and Wildlife Service director Dan Ashe said.

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