Elk NetworkNational Survey: Public Approval of Hunting at 18-Year High

News Releases | August 15, 2013

August 15, 2013

National Survey: Public Approval of Hunting at 18-Year High

MISSOULA, Mont.—A recent nationwide survey indicates 79% of Americans approve of hunting, marking a five percent increase from 2011 and the highest level since 1995.

“Hunting is a way of life for many of us. Most Americans recognize and agree with that,” said David Allen, RMEF president and CEO. “Hunting is conservation! It has a tremendous positive impact on wildlife and wildlife habitat.”

Responsive Management, a public opinion research organization focusing on natural resource and outdoor recreation issues, began to scientifically track nationwide hunting approval trends in 1995. The most recent finding of 79% is the highest percentage to date. Trends remain relatively steady over the years: 73% in 1995, 75% in 2003, 78% in 2006, 74% in 2011 and 79% in 2013.

The survey also found that more than half of Americans (52%) strongly approve of hunting (79% strongly or moderately approve), while 12% disapprove (strongly or moderately) of hunting. Another 9% gave a neutral answer.  

The increase in acceptance may be linked to results from a U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service report (2011 National Survey of Fishing, Hunting and Wildlife-Associated Recreation http://www.census.gov/prod/2012pubs/fhw11-nat.pdf) that shows hunting participation increased by 9% since 2006 while shooting participation increased 18 percent since 2009. Other Responsive Management studies on public opinion on hunting show the strongest correlation with the approval of hunting is knowing a hunter.

“Hunting has a tremendous and measureable link to conservation. Hunters deserve to be proud of their contributions to wildlife, habitat and resource management,” added Allen.

Hunting directly accounts for more than a million jobs in the United States and creates an overall economy of $67 billion per year. Hunters provide the vast majority of funding that allows state wildlife agencies to successfully manage our wildlife resources through license sales and excise taxes on hunting equipment.

Conducted in February 2013, the Responsive Management survey randomly surveyed 1,306 Americans 18 years of age and older.