Hunting is one of humanity’s oldest pursuits. In fact, the earliest evidence of humans hunting appears to be from approximately 1.7 million years ago.
Of course, it looks a whole lot different now than it did back then.
But what does hunting look like now? How many people are hunting, who are they, where are they from, and what are they hunting with? In this guide to current hunting statistics, we’ll answer all those questions and more, so get comfortable and keep reading.
Key Hunting Statistics
- There were 15,158,443 hunting licenses sold in 2020, the year for which the most recent data is available.
- Approximately 4.6 percent of the US population was issued a hunting license in 2020.
- South Dakota has the most hunters per capita.
- Texas has the most hunters in general with 1,120,620 hunting licenses issued in 2020.
- The hunting industry supports more than 525 thousand jobs.
- Hunters spent $27.1 billion on hunting in 2016.
- Individual hunters spend an average of $1,896 on hunting each year.
- 32% of hunters are bow hunters, representing 3,520,000 hunters.
- The vast majority of hunters are white men.
- Between 2011 and 2016, there were 2 million fewer hunters in the United States.
How Many Hunters Are In The US In 2022?
Unfortunately, it’s difficult to say exactly how many hunters there are in the US in 2022. The most recent data from the US Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) on hunting licenses is from 2020 and only deals with licenses sold that year.
In total, the USFWS puts the total number of hunting licenses sold in 2020 at 15,158,443. However, that number is complicated by a few things even beyond the fact that it’s two years old.
Note: The information in this article is a cummulation of all the estimated data from various sources. It may vary according to the latest developments.
How Many Registered Hunters in the US?
There were almost 15.2 million hunting licenses issued in 2020, the most recent year for which the US Fish and Wildlife Service has issued data. However, because of the nature of how hunting licenses are issued, that’s only an approximate estimate and the real number of hunters in the United States could be different.
What State has the Most Hunters Per Capita?
The state of South Dakota has the most hunters per capita. In 2020, the state issued 212,739 hunting licenses, representing about 24.1% of the state.
What Percent of People in the US hunt?
In 2020, a little over 15 million hunting licenses were issued. The US population that same year was approximately 329.5 million, meaning that approximately 4.6 percent of the US population was issued a hunting license that year.
Hunting Statistics By State
|State||Paid Hunting License Holders||Total Hunting License, Tags, Permits, and Stamps||Gross Cost – Hunting Licenses, Tags, Permits, and Stamps|
Hunting Revenue Statistics
Now let’s talk about how much the hunting industry makes.
How Big is The Hunting Industry in The US?
According to a 2016 report from the National Shooting Sports Foundation, the hunting industry supports more than 525 thousand jobs, which is more than three times that of the oil and gas extraction industry.
That same report states that hunters spent $27.1 billion on hunting that year, including $7.1 on equipment, 3.1 billion on lodging and food, $630 million on clothing, and $256 million for licenses, tags, and permits.
How Much Revenue Does Hunting Generate in The US?
As we just covered, hunters spent $27.1 billion on hunting in 2016. That includes not just revenue for the private sector, but also tax revenue.
Hunters’ spending resulted in $5.3 billion in federal tax revenue. They also spent $3.4 billion in state and local tax revenue, which breaks down to about $23.8 million per day. That’s important income for wildlife and conservation agencies.
How Much Does a Professional Hunter Make?
Salaries for professional hunters can vary widely. According to ZipRecruiter, hunters can make as little as $19,000 and as much as $140,000 annually. However, most make somewhere between $32,500 and $116,500, with the average annual income being $60,944.
However, it’s not clear where ZipRecruiter gets those numbers, so take them with a grain of salt. It’s also worth noting that it’s exceptionally difficult to get a job as a professional hunter in the first place.
How Much Money is Spent on Hunting Each Year?
Hunters spent approximately $27.1 billion on hunting in 2016. Individual hunters spend an average of $1,896 on hunting each year, according to a 2011 report, representing approximately 5.5% of their total income.
How Much Do Bowhunters Contribute to the Economy?
Hunting Weapon Statistics
Now let’s cover some stats about the types of weapons used for hunting.
Firearms Hunting Statistics
In 2016, 68% of hunters used firearms for hunting, according to a report by the US Fish and Wildlife Service. Since there were 11 million hunters that year, that means there were approximately 7,480,000 hunters in the US that used firearms.
Bow Hunting Statistics
That leaves 32% of hunters as bow hunters, representing 3,520,000 hunters.
Hunting Demographic Statistics
A 2016 report from the US Fish and Wildlife Service provides us with demographic information about American hunters.
Hunting continues to be an overwhelmingly male pursuit. 90 percent of US hunters aged 16 years and older are male, representing 10.3 million people and 8 percent of the total US population.
In contrast, only 10 percent of hunters are female. That’s a mere 1.1 million people and not even 1 percent of the US population.
Hunting may be overwhelmingly male, but it’s even more overwhelmingly white. A whopping 97 percent of hunters are white, totaling about 6 percent of the US’s white population. That totals to about 11.1 million hunters.
In fact, among the hunters that were sampled, the number of African Americans and Asians represented were so small (less than 10 individuals) that the USFWS wasn’t able to make a reliable estimate of those populations’ representation in the larger hunting community.
A final 2 percent of the sampled hunters fell into the “Other” category in terms of race, totaling about 200 thousand hunters.
Participation in hunting increases until about the age of 65, at which point it tapers again. Among people aged 16 and 17 years old, only 3 percent were hunters. For 18- to 24-year-olds, 25- to 34-year-olds, and 35- to 44-year-olds, about 4 percent of people are hunters. Among the 45- to 54-year-old and 55- 64-year-old age groups, approximately 6 percent of the population hunts.
At that point, we see a decline in hunting, likely due to people losing the ability to take part in hunts physically as their health declines. Only 4 percent of people 65- to 74 years old hunt, and a mere 2 percent of people 75 years and older continue to hunt.
Hunting is most popular among individuals in the 55- to 64-year-old age group, with about 2.7 million hunters falling within that group. That’s about 24 percent of hunters in general. However, the 45- to 54-year-old age group is a strong second, with about 2.5 million hunters.
Decline in Hunting Participation
As we just discussed, young people are less likely to hunt than their older counterparts. Unfortunately, this trend isn’t because people tend to pick up hunting as a hobby as they get older. Instead, it reflects the fact that hunting is becoming less and less popular with younger generations.
The fact of the matter is that hunting has long been an overwhelmingly white activity, but white people are taking up a smaller and smaller share of the overall population of the United States. However, as the country has diversified, the hunting community has failed to do the same.
And this isn’t just a problem for keeping hunting traditions alive. Hunting communities provide valuable contributions to conservation funds, which are seeing a drop in funds due to decreased sales of hunting licenses. That’s why recruitment, retention, and reactivation (R3) efforts are so, so important. These programs, usually handled at the state level, focus on not just getting people more involved in hunting, but also in figuring out who wants to hunt, why, and what they need to do so to make sure that we’re growing the hunting community in the most efficient way possible.