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Individual Highlight

Changing Patterns of Wildlife Hunting and Viewing

Photo of Report coverReport coverSnapshot : These findings help resource specialists explore the potential impacts of declining hunting participation, identify regions and activities that experience the greatest decline, anticipate changes to communities dependent on wildlife-associated recreation, and consider new mechanisms to fund wildlife management

Principal Investigators(s) :
Mockrin, Miranda H.  
Research Location : Rockies
Research Station : Rocky Mountain Research Station (RMRS)
Year : 2013
Highlight ID : 544

Summary

The Forest Service regularly takes the pulse of the Nation's wildlife resources as required by the Forest and Rangeland Renewable Resources Planning Act (RPA). Findings show ongoing changes in the American public's ties to nature and its perceptions about and participation in sport hunting. Station scientists, and a partner with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, recently documented current and historical trends in hunting and wildlife watching, using data from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's National Survey of Fishing, Hunting, and Wildlife-Associated Recreation. They found that: (1) Hunting participation continues to decline, across all regions of the U.S. As of 2006, only 5.5 percent of Americans over the age of 16 hunt wildlife. Wildlife viewing, tracked for the past 25 years, fluctuates, with approximately 10 percent of the population watching away from home as of 2006. There are fewer numbers of primary participants in recreational hunting, with numbers declining more rapidly relative to a growing American population with an increasingly diverse mix of values and attitudes toward wildlife. (2) Since the last RPA assessment in 2000, Americans spend more per day on both hunting and wildlife watching. This smaller but dedicated portion of the population makes valuable contributions to the overall economy. (3) The unequal distribution of public lands and costs to obtain access to private lands also shape wildlife hunting and viewing participation. While public land fees for hunting are less expensive and more stable over time, public lands are distributed unevenly over the U.S., with far more land available in the West. Fees for private land access are up. Wildlife watching away from home relies primarily on public lands across the U.S., with a larger number of people recreating on smaller public lands in the eastern U.S. These findings help resource specialists explore the potential impacts of declining hunting participation, identify regions and activities that experience the greatest decline, anticipate changes to communities dependent on wildlife-associated recreation, and consider new mechanisms to fund wildlife management-all essential to maintaining healthy wildlife populations and recreational opportunities in a changing America.

Forest Service Partners

External Partners

 
  • US Fish and Wildlife Service

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