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Fri Feb 22, 2013, 12:00 PM

MoJo: More Americans 'Watch' Birds Than Hunt

We haven't heard much about hunting during the ongoing debate over gun violence. Perhaps that's because hunting is widely seen as a traditional, enjoyable, and safe pastime, even among the majority of Americans who have never donned camo and hunting orange. Or perhaps that's because most hunters don't need AR-15s or high-capacity magazines. Or perhaps it's because hunters are a minority among the 80 million or so gun-owning Americans.

How many hunters are there? In 2011, according to the US Fish and Wildlife Service (PDF), 15.7 million Americans older than six went hunting. That's nearly 29 million less than went fishing, and 3 million less than went out to watch birds. Back in 1955, about 10 percent of Americans hunted; today it's around 6 percent. Overall, the number of hunters began to dip in the '90s but has slowly increased in the past few years.



Who hunts? The FWS's latest survey finds that hunters are 89 percent male and 94 percent white. More than half are 45 or older. Nearly 60 percent live in small metropolitan areas or rural areas. Similarly, about 80 percent of all gun owners are men, and they have been getting older as their numbers have fallen. (Around 35 percent of Americans say they own a gun.) A recent National Rifle Association (NRA) survey of its members found that nearly half identify as hunters and that they, like hunters in general, are largely from small towns and rural areas.

What do they hunt? More than 80 percent of hunters go after big game such as deer and elk. About 4.5 million hunt small game such as squirrels; 2.6 million hunt ducks and other birds, and 2.2 million go after other animals like feral pigs.

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Response to trailmonkee (Original post)

Fri Feb 22, 2013, 12:12 PM

1. Many parks, management areas, state forests are financially supoorted by hunters & fishers...

So it is good that these constituencies are once again increasing. Near my home is Granger Wildlife Management Area where birders, bikers, fishers can visit for free. Hunters pay $48/yr for the privilege of hunting this & other public places.

"We" carry a lot if weight, and fortunately most birders, bikers, campers, etc. see this. Not bad for a bunch of old white guys!

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Response to Eleanors38 (Reply #1)

Fri Feb 22, 2013, 01:12 PM

4. The fees from the hunting licenses pay for managing and enforcing the hunting laws.

They don't pay for the parks.

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Response to FSogol (Reply #4)

Sat Feb 23, 2013, 10:51 AM

6. Oh, they do in Texas. And "management" pays for habitat protection for all species.

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Response to trailmonkee (Original post)

Fri Feb 22, 2013, 12:44 PM

2. Notice that when hunting leveled off then.....

began to drop coincides nicely with the NRA's time frame when they moved away from safety and hunting animals to pushing weapons to hunt people. If you can create enough fear that is a huge market. It was the only way to increase gun sales.

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Response to Bonhomme Richard (Reply #2)

Fri Feb 22, 2013, 01:09 PM

3. Most Of Our Resident Gun Enthusiasts Aren't Hunters.


And the firearms they favor (semi-auto pistols and semi-auto, military-styled rifles) reflect this.

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Response to Paladin (Reply #3)

Fri Feb 22, 2013, 03:12 PM

5. Not surprising, given that six times as many people own guns than hunt,

 

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