Hunter Numbers: When More Is Better

Sally G. from Michigan writes to ask about hunter numbers. “It seems to me that with the economy so bad, so many people laid off, that more people would be going hunting just to put meat in the freezer. Yet, the press seems to slant things as ‘gloom and doom’ relative to hunter numbers. Are hunter numbers still dropping even though more people are unemployed and need meat?”

Dr. Dave Samuel
Dr. Dave Samuel

Sally, hunter numbers have been dropping slowly since 1975 when we had around 17 million hunters. However, your perception of hunter numbers in recent years is correct. Since 2006, hunter numbers have steadily increased and in 2011 we had around 13.7 million hunters. In your home state hunter numbers dropped 14 percent from 2006 to 2011, but in Illinois they increased by 62 percent. In the whole country the good news is that from 2006 to 2011, hunter numbers were up 9 percent.

Be sure to check out Sportsman’s Guide for the latest selection of big game hunting gear.

Dr. Dave writes a weekly column for Dr. Dave studied deer for 30 years as a wildlife management professor at West Virginia University. In addition he has been a bowhunter for over 40 years, with deer being his main prey. He’s also an outdoor writer and has been with “Bowhunter” magazine for 31 years.

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