Study: More Americans partake in outdoors activities

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More Americans are enjoying outdoor activities, including fishing and wildlife watching, according to a study by the US Fish and Wildlife Service and published by the US Dept. of the Interior. The study shows gains made in every category but hunting.

“This report absolutely underscores the need to increase public access to public lands across the United States. Hunting and fishing are a part of the American heritage,” said U.S. Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke.

The study reports that 101.6 million Americans participate in wildlife-related activities. That is about 40% of the population over 16 years of age. Some of the statistics from the report are highlighted below.

• Americans spent 156 billion dollars in these pursuits over the last five years, the most in 25 years when adjusted for inflation

• Americans watching and photographing wildlife rose by 20%, from 71 million to 86 million participants

• Around-the-home wildlife watching rose by 18%

• Angling participation rose by 8 percent, from 33 million to almost 36 million

• Fishing expenditures rose from 45 billion dollars to 46 billion.

• Hunting participation fell by 2%, the only drop in the study

• Over 11 million Americans participated in hunting

• Hunting expenditures declined about 29%, but related expenditures, such as taxidermy and camping equipment, rose by 27%

• 32 million Americans participated in firearms target shooting

• 12.4 million Americans participated in archery target shooting

Secretary Zinke has proposed expanding opportunities for fishing and hunting on 10 National Wildlife Refuges, and has sent President Donald Trump a proposal to expand access on 27 National Monuments.

The study is conducted every five years.