What We Do
The National Survey of Fishing, Hunting, and Wildlife-Associated Recreation (FHWAR) is typically conducted every five years and reports results from interviews with U.S. residents about their fishing, hunting, wildlife watching, and other recreation activities. The survey provides participation, expenditure, and activity-day estimates of American outdoor recreation.
Conducted since 1955, the surveys provide information on recent and long-term trends in participation. The wealth of information presented in each survey allows stakeholders, researchers, and agency partners to put current participation in perspective through data on recruitment and retention. Every survey contains an updated snapshot of fishing, hunting, wildlife watching, and other recreational data and includes information that fulfills the needs of both those who want high-level numbers and engaging graphics and those who need to take deeper dives into the data. The Surveys also provide information on participants’ gender, age, and other demographics.
The most recently conducted survey publication is the 2016 National Report. This report focuses on 2016 participation and expenditures of Americans. In addition to 2016 numbers, the survey also provided trend information in the Highlights sections and Appendix C of the report. The 2016 numbers can be compared with those conducted since 1991 as they used similar methodologies. However, the 2016 estimates should not be directly compared with results from surveys conducted earlier than 1991 because of changes in methodology to improve accuracy.
The 2016 FHWAR was a national-level survey, but state-level estimates were modeled by Census and are available by contacting Richard Aiken (Richard_Aiken@fws.gov).
View and download 2016 Quick Facts from the National Survey of Fishing, Hunting, and Wildlife-Associated Recreation.
The 2022 FHWAR survey is currently underway with results expected to be published in the summer of 2023. The data collection is being conducted by NORC of the University of Chicago and will include additional information about the total number of target shooters, archers, and boaters.
Our Projects and Initiatives
50-State Survey - 2016
The 50-State Survey of Fishing, Hunting, and Wildlife-Associated Recreation was conducted by the Rockville Institute (RI) for the state fish and wildlife agencies, under the auspices and guidance of the Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies (AFWA). This survey focused on the 2016 participation and expenditures of U.S. residents aged 16 and older. The survey questionnaire and the of the reports drew heavily from previous surveys of wildlife-related recreation conducted by the U.S. Bureau of the Census for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
The 50-State Survey was conducted entirely via mail. RI carried out data collection in two phases: (1) a screening survey, sent to sampled addresses across the United States in March 2016 and (2) detailed surveys on hunting, fishing, and wildlife watching sent in three waves from March 2016 to February 2017. The 50-State Survey produced state-level estimates, but these estimates were not directly comparable to those from previous surveys. RI therefore completed a project to create new state-level estimates that are calibrated to those of the 2016 National Survey. The purpose of these calibrated estimates is to maintain the fine level of granularity of the 50-State Survey and enable comparison to previous National Surveys. Through this bridging project, RI created state-level tables showing adjusted survey estimates by state of residency of the participants. The reports linked below show the estimated demographics, participation, days, trips, and expenditures for fishing, hunting, and wildlife-associated recreation activities for residents of states whose state fish and game agency approved public release of their state report.
Access the 2016 state reports through the USFWS National Digital Library: Bridging the 50-State Survey of Fishing, Hunting, and Wildlife-Associated Recreation with previous National Survey of Fishing, Hunting, and Wildlife-Associated Recreation Trends.