To Be Filed For Future And Ongoing Reference – U.S. Public Opinion About Hunting Increases

August 15, 2013

Well, I guess this is press release week here at the Hog Blog.  I guess it’s something to write about… and honestly, it just seems like I’ve seen a bunch of compelling releases lately.

Today’s release is from the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation, and reports on the publication of survey results showing that public approval of hunting has increased again to 79%. 

I think this is significant in light of the ongoing PR campaigns by anti-hunters regarding hot button topics such as wolves, lead ammunition, and high-fence hunting.  I think it also offers a counterpoint to the worry-warts out there who feel like modern hunting (long range, high tech, black rifles) is eroding the image, and thus the public support of our sport.  Of course, maybe the negatives are offset by the surge of new hunters who’ve been attracted as part of the locavore and self-sufficiency fads.  It’s hard to say.

One point from the survey group stands out… apparently the strongest correlation with the perceptions of hunting is knowing a hunter.  That’s not any kind of surprise, of course, but it’s a good reminder that we are all ambassadors of our sport.

Anyway, here’s the release for your reading pleasure.

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) 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.



2 Responses to “To Be Filed For Future And Ongoing Reference – U.S. Public Opinion About Hunting Increases”

  1. Mike C on August 16th, 2013 11:07

    I think we can also thank the cable outdoor hunting (and fishing) channels that portray hunting in such a way that they showcase the positive impact hunting makes to conservation for generations to come.

    This dispels the idea that hunters will continue hunting until there is at least one deer lashed to each corner of the station-wagon. It’s good to hear the concept of lotteries and tags explained to those not in the know.

    I’m encouraged.

  2. Phillip on August 18th, 2013 00:29

    Mike, I do think the TV shows have probably had some positive effect. It’s funny too, though, because a lot of folks feel like some of the hunting shows are actually harmful to the public perception of our sport. It’s a tricky one, no doubt…