By Wayne Kruse
Wildlife-related outdoor recreation increased dramatically from 2006 to 2011, according to data released last week by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
The report, “2011 National Survey of Fishing, Hunting, and Wildlife-Associated Recreation” showed more than 90 million people participated in fishing, hunting or other wildlife-related activities in 2011, an increase of 3 percent from five years earlier. The increase was primarily among those who fished and hunted.
Wildlife recreationists spent $144.7 billion in 2011, equating to 1 percent of the Gross Domestic Product.
The number of sportspersons rose from 33.9 million in 2006 to 37.4 million in 2011. Of those, 33.1 million fished, 13.7 million hunted, and 71.8 million watched, fed or photographed wildlife.
Of the 13.7 million hunters, 11.6 million hunted big game, 4.5 million small game, 2.6 million migratory birds, and 2.2 million other animals.