Office of External Affairs
Mountain-Prairie Region


U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
Mountain-Prairie Region
134 Union Boulevard
Lakewood, Colorado 80228

August 9, 2007  

Contact: Joshua Winchell, (202) 219-7499




According to preliminary state-by-state data from the new 2006 National Survey of Fishing, Hunting and Wildlife-Associated Recreation, Montanans were on average most likely to hunt, Alaskans and Minnesotans were most likely to fish; and residents of Maine are most likely to observe, photograph or feed wildlife, during 2006. In terms of total numbers, Texas led the nation with 1.1 million residents hunting at some point during the year, while Florida led in total fishing participation with 2.8 million anglers. California saw 6.2 million of its residents observe wildlife in 2006.


“The National Survey is an important tool that measures in economic and participatory terms the value that wildlife has in Americans’ hearts and to the nation’s economy. Wildlife related recreation rejuvenates our spirit, connects us with nature and gets us outside pursuing healthy activities,” said U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Director H. Dale Hall.

Most Participants In-State

(age 16 and older)

Highest Participation Rates

(age 16 and older)

In-State Hunters


Texas – 1,115,000

Pennsylvania – 1,027,000

Michigan – 756,000

Wisconsin – 698,000

Missouri – 613,000

Montana – 19%

North Dakota – 17%

South Dakota, Wisconsin – 15%

Arkansas, Maine, West Virginia – 14%

Minnesota, Missouri, Wyoming – 13%


In-State Anglers


Florida – 2,755,000

Texas – 2,500,000

California – 1,740,000

Minnesota – 1,435,000

Michigan – 1,408,000

Alaska, Minnesota – 28%

Montana, Wyoming – 24%

Wisconsin – 23%

Arkansas, Maine, Mississippi, Missouri, North Dakota, West Virginia – 21%

Idaho – 20%


In-State Wildlife Watchers

Wildlife Watching

California – 6,233,000

Florida – 4,177,000

Texas – 4,174,000

Pennsylvania – 3,965,000

New York – 3,762,000


Maine – 57%

Montana, Vermont – 55%

Iowa, Minnesota, Wyoming – 48%

New Hampshire – 46%

Missouri – 45%



In 2006, more than 87 million Americans, or 38 percent of the United States’ population age 16 and older hunted, fished or observed wildlife. They spent $120 billion that year pursuing those activities. Further broken down by category, 30 million (or 13 percent) fished and spent a total of $41 billion on their activities, 12.5 million (or 5 percent) hunted and spent a total of $23 billion, and 71 million (or 31 percent) observed wildlife and spent a total of $45 billion.


The National Survey of Fishing, Hunting and Wildlife-Associated Recreation has been conducted every 5 years since 1955 and is one of the nation’s most important wildlife-related recreation databases. It is considered to be the definitive source of information concerning participation and expenditures associated with hunting, fishing and other forms of wildlife-related recreation nationwide.


The National Survey is conducted at the request of state fish and wildlife agencies, and is funded by grants from the Wildlife and Sport Fish Restoration Acts’ Multistate Conservation Grant Program. A wide range of individuals and groups depend on the National Survey to analyze participation rates, as well as the economic impacts of expenditures, demographic characteristics, and trends in participation and activities.


It is important to note that the National Survey counts only participants who actually went hunting, fishing or observed wildlife in 2006 and does not represent the total number of anglers, hunters, and wildlife watchers in the United States. Many people who consider themselves hunters, anglers or wildlife watchers do not participate every year. For example, examination of survey data shows that over the five year period from 2002 to 2006, a cumulative total of 44.4 million people fished and 18.6 million hunted.


This 2006 National Survey of Fishing, Hunting, and Wildlife-Associated Recreation State Overview report, as well as previous surveys and reports, can be found at <>.  The Service expects to publish the final National Survey in November 2007.


The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is the principal federal agency responsible for conserving, protecting and enhancing fish, wildlife and plants and their habitats for the continuing benefit of the American people. The Service manages the 97-million-acre National Wildlife Refuge System, which encompasses 548 national wildlife refuges, thousands of small wetlands and other special management areas. It also operates 69 national fish hatcheries, 64 fishery resources offices and 81 ecological services field stations. The agency enforces federal wildlife laws, administers the Endangered Species Act, manages migratory bird populations, restores nationally significant fisheries, conserves and restores wildlife habitat such as wetlands, and helps foreign and Native American tribal governments with their conservation efforts. It also oversees the Federal Assistance program, which distributes hundreds of millions of dollars in excise taxes on fishing and hunting equipment to state fish and wildlife agencies.