Our Demographic

At First Light Net, we recognize the need and desire to reach a very niche demographic. For your convenience, we have assembled general demographic and economic information for the fishing, hunting and outdoors. If you require more specific information or have a question please feel free to contact a representative of First Light Net.


The following information is excerpts from the most recent National Survey of Fishing, Hunting, and Wildlife-Associated Recreation.
National Survey of Fishing, Hunting, and Wildlife-Associated Recreation Survey Background

The National Survey of Fishing, Hunting, and Wildlife-Associated Recreation has been conducted about every five years since 1955. It provides information on the number of participants in fishing, hunting, and wildlife watching (observing, photographing, and feeding wildlife), and the amount of time and money spent on these activities.

The Survey is one of the Nation's most important wildlife recreation databases. It is the only source of comprehensive information on participation and expenditures that is comparable on a state-by-state basis. It is used for estimating the economic impact of wildlife-related recreation for each state; for estimating the value of wildlife resources lost due to pollution or disease such as whirling disease in fish; for use in critical habitat analysis of threatened species; and for preparing environmental impact statements, budgets, and legislative proposals.


National Survey of Fishing, Hunting, and Wildlife-Associated Recreation Highlights

Over 82 million U.S. residents 16 years old and older fished, hunted, or wildlife watched in 2001. During that year, 34.1 million people fished, 13.0 million hunted, and 66.1 million participated in at least one type of wildlife-watching activity including observing, feeding, or photographing wildlife.


Wildlife recreationists' avidity was reflected in their spending which totaled $108 billion in 2001. This amounted to 1.1% of the GDP. Of the total amount spent, $28 billion was for trips, $64 billion for equipment, and $16 billion for other items.


Sportspersons spent a total of $70 billion in 2001—$36 billion on fishing, $21 billion on hunting, and $14 billion on items used for both hunting and fishing (the sum of expenditures totals $71 billion due to rounding). Wildlife watchers spent $38 billion on trips, equipment, and other items.


10 Year Trend Information

A comparison of estimates from the 1991, 1996, and 2001 Surveys reveals that millions of Americans continue to enjoy wildlife recreation. While the number of sportspersons fell from 40 million in 1991 to 37.8 million in 2001, their expenditures increased from $53 billion (adjusted for inflation and comparability between Surveys) in 1991 to $70 billion in 2001.


Fishing — Fishing continues to be a favorite pastime in the United States. In 2001, 16% of the U.S. population 16 years old and older spent an average of 16 days fishing. Comparing results of the 2001 Survey and the 1996 Survey reveals that the number of all anglers declined 3% and overall fishing expenditures fell 17% — a 16% drop in trip and a 22% drop in equipment expenditures.


From 1991 to 2001, the number of all anglers declined 4% and expenditures increased 14%. Saltwater fishing increased 2% (not significant) but freshwater fishing declined by 8%.


Hunting — Six percent of the U.S. population 16 years old and older, over 13 million people, hunted in 2001. They spent an average of 18 days pursuing their sport. The number of all hunters declined by 7% from 1996 to 2001 and there was a 12% drop in expenditures (not a statistically significant change).


Comparing 1991 to 2001, the number of all hunters declined by 7%. Although the number of all hunters fell, the number of big game and migratory bird hunters remained constant. The decreases occurred in small game (-29%) and other animal (-26%) hunting. Hunting expenditures increased 29% from 1991 to 2001, primarily due to equipment expenditures.


Wildlife Watching — Thirty-one percent of the U.S. population 16 years old and older fed, observed, or photographed wildlife in 2001. These wildlife watchers increased in number by 5% from 1996 to 2001. Their expenditures for trips, equipment, and other items increased 16%.


From 1991 to 2001 the total number of wildlife watchers decreased by 13%. The number of those participating around their home fell 15%; while those taking trips to wildlife watch fell by 27%. In spite of the decline in participation, expenditures increased by 41% because of equipment purchases.


Due to changes in methodology, the estimates from the 1991, 1996 and 2001 surveys cannot be compared with estimates from previous surveys.

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View the 2001 National Survey of Fishing, Hunting, and Wildlife-Associated Recreation, National Overview. Click Here

Fish Sought (Freshwater except Great Lakes) Number of Anglers
Black Bass 10,708,000
Panfish 7,910,000
Trout 7,819,000
Catfish 7,517,000
Fish Sought (Great Lakes) Number of Anglers
Perch 693,000
Black Bass 589,000
Walleye, Sauger 571,000
Salmon 516,000
Fish Sought (Saltwater) Number of Anglers
Flatfish (flounder, halibut) 2,269,000
Red Drum (redfish) 1,721,000
Striped Bass 1,716,000
Sea Trout 1,487,000

For more fishing, hunting and outdoor activities demographic information please also refer to:

2006 National Survey of Fishing, Hunting, and Wildlife-Associated Recreation

2001 National Survey of Fishing, Hunting, and Wildlife-Associated Recreation