40 % of Americans participated in wildlife-related activities in 2016

John Kimura at Modoc National Wildlife Refuge

The preliminary report of the 2016 National Survey of Fishing, Hunting, and Wildlife-Associated Recreation shows detailed information on the number of U.S. residents 16 years of age and older who fished, hunted or wildlife watched (fed, observed, or photographed wildlife) in 2016. It shows a breakdown of their expenditures for trips, equipment, and other items.

Wildlife watching saw a gain in participation. Photo: Lisa Hupp/USFWS

The survey illustrates the gains in wildlife watching — particularly around the home — and fishing, 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.

At the request of state fish and wildlife agencies, the Fish and Wildlife Service has been sponsoring the national survey every five years since 1955. It’s one of the nation’s most important wildlife-related recreation databases and the definitive source of information concerning participation and purchases associated with hunting, fishing and other forms of wildlife-related recreation nationwide. See previous years of this survey.