The U.S. Department of the Interior announced last week a new report by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service that shows that 101.6 million Americans — 40 percent of the U.S. population 16 years old and older—participated in wildlife-related activities in 2016, such as hunting, fishing and wildlife-watching.
The survey illustrates gains in fishing and wildlife watching — particularly around the home — with moderate declines in the number of hunters nationally. The findings reflect a continued interest in engaging in the outdoors. These activities are drivers behind an economic powerhouse, where participants spent $156 billion — the most in the last 25 years, adjusted for inflation.
The report indicates more Americans went fishing with an 8 percent increase in angling participation since 2011, from 33.1 million anglers to 35.8 million in 2016. The greatest increases in participation — 10 percent — were seen in the Great Lakes area. Total expenditures by anglers nationwide rose 2 percent from 2011 to 2016, from $45 billion to $46.1 billion.