FWS survey reports millions of new hunters and anglers

Outdoor recreationists spent about $394 billion on equipment, travel and more

Kristen A. Schmitt

If your local hunting or fishing spots seem a bit more crowded than usual, there’s a reason: the 2022 National Survey of Fishing, Hunting and Wildlife-Associated Recreation found that U.S. residents over the age of 16 took over 1.7 billion trips to hunt, fish or recreate outdoors. The survey, which is a collaboration between the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) and the Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies, also found that outdoor adventurers spent an estimated $394 billion on equipment, travel, licenses and more, according to a news release.

“Time spent in nature is an important part of the human experience and can provide lifelong memories, connections to others, healthy activities, and a sense of rest and healing,” said FWS Director Martha Williams. “These numbers demonstrate how important our public lands and wild places are not just for the well-being of people who enjoy them, but as an economic engine that provides thousands of jobs and sustains businesses, economies and communities throughout the nation.”

The survey results show that in 2022 there were 14.4 million U.S. residents who hunted and 40 million who fished. Another 148 million U.S. residents reported watching wildlife, making the combined total of 14 billion days spent in the field, on the water or around the home viewing wildlife an “all-time high.”

This is a national survey conducted every five years since 1955.

“We are grateful to the more than 100,000 survey respondents from households across America that took part in the 2022 Survey,” said Williams. “Because of this participation, the National Survey continues to serve as the nation’s definitive wildlife-related recreation database and a crucial source of information on participation rates and economic impacts of outdoor activities across the nation.” This year’s survey design recognizes that in addition to wildlife-dependent activities like hunting and fishing and wildlife-watching, recreational boating and target shooting are also important nature-dependent pastimes that link people to wildlife and wild places. For many, these activities are a lifestyle and gateway to the outdoors and a connection to nature that creates lifelong memories.”

Click here to view the complete survey results.

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