WASHINGTON Aug 15 Nearly 38 percent of
Americans hunted, fished or watched wildlife last year,
reversing decades of decline in outdoor recreation, the Interior
Department said on Wednesday.
A 2011 survey shows that the number of U.S. hunters had gone
up 9 percent in five years and anglers were up 11 percent, the
department said in a statement.
"This is great news since hunters and anglers have long been
the driving force behind conservation efforts in America,"
Interior Secretary Ken Salazar said in a conference call with
The survey has been held every five years since 1955 and the
number of people involved in outdoor recreation has dropped for
30 years, he said.
Salazar said the upturn resulted in part from efforts by
federal and local governments and conservation groups such as
Ducks Unlimited to spur Americans to get outdoors.
The survey of 48,627 people showed that nearly 38 percent of
Americans took part in wildlife-related recreation last year, an
increase of 2.6 million from the 2006 survey.
They spent $145 billion on gear, trips and other purchases,
such as licenses and tags.
In 2011, 13.7 million people, or 6 percent of the population
16 years old or older, went hunting, the department said.
More than 33 million people 16 or older fished last year and
more than 71 million people engaged in wildlife watching.
(Reporting by Ian Simpson; editing by Andre Grenon)