Would you be surprised to learn that the average American angler spent $1,046 a year on his hobby and that hunters spent $1,581 per person per year on theirs?
Those are just a couple of the facts emerging from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's most recent survey of hunters, anglers, birdwatchers and others who depend on wildlife for their leisure activities.
Every five years since 1955, the Fish and Wildlife Service has asked Americans about their activities and expenditures that involve animals. The agency just released preliminary results from its latest survey, conducted in 2001.
Among the findings:
34 million Americans fished and spent $35.6 billion doing so.
Hunters numbered 13 million, and their expenditures totaled $20.6 billion.
66 million Americans reported watching, feeding or photographing wildlife and spent $40 billion in the process.
The majority of expenditures for wildlife-related activities were for equipment. Food, lodging and transportation expenditures made up about one-fifth of the economic activity associated with wildlife-related recreation, or about $19 billion.
The preliminary report showed a slight decrease in numbers of Americans engaged in all three types of wildlife-related recreation compared to the survey conducted in 1991.
However, they represented 39 percent of the nation's population, and their expenditures for these activities still made up 1.1 percent of the United States' gross domestic product.
The Fish and Wildlife Service will release full, final survey results of the survey in November.