Insights into Anglers, Hunters and Target Shooters Recapped for 2008

Insights into Anglers, Hunters and Target Shooters Recapped for 2008

Fernandina Beach, FL – -( and, monitor sportsmen's and women's monthly outdoor activities, purchases and opinions. These surveys have become important tools in helping the American Sportfishing Association, industry, media and fishery managers understand the trends affecting participation and sales. Here are some highlights from the 2008 surveys:

Anglers Report Why Great Lakes Fishing is Declining (January 2008):
The number of anglers fishing in the Great Lakes has decreased 44% since 1991, according to the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service. In a December 2007 poll, asked Great Lakes anglers why they fish less in the Great Lakes than they once did. The largest single reason, cited by 42% of respondents, is a preference for fishing in other locations. The reasons for this preference may include better fishing elsewhere, better access in other locations, or other factors.

Fishing Activity Reduced by Access Problems (March 2008):
More than 25% of U.S. anglers report reducing their fishing activities because of problems accessing their preferred fishing holes. In March 2008, asked anglers if they had canceled a trip or stopped fishing specific locations due to access problems. Of the anglers reporting such problems, 80 percent reported their access problems were in freshwater areas, while 15% experienced access issues in saltwater locations. Of all anglers, 10 percent either reduced their fishing activity or stopped fishing altogether.

Anglers Support Free or Reduced-Price Fishing Licenses for Seniors (March 2008):
A majority of anglers expressed support for states providing free or discounted fishing licenses for senior citizens. Specifically, 46 percent of anglers said that senior anglers should get free licenses, while 28 percent preferred half-price licenses for seniors. Another 13 percent indicated that license discounts should be provided only for seniors in financial need. Only 5 percent stated that senior anglers should pay full price for a fishing license.

Is Reloading Becoming a Lost Art? (April 2008):
Most American shooters do not reload their own shotshells or rifle and pistol cartridges. In an April 2008 survey by, 83% of shotgunners and 74% of centerfire shooters reported that they do not reload any ammunition at all. Most shooters who do reload their own ammunition report reloading only small quantities, one to five boxes per month.

Rising Fuel Costs Fail to Dampen Anglers' Enthusiasm for Fishing Away from Home (April 2008):
Despite gasoline costs expected to approach $4 per gallon in spring and summer 2008, nearly 60% of U.S. anglers were planning an out-of-state fishing trip in the next 12 months, according to an April 2008 poll by At least as of last spring, the majority of surveyed anglers stated that increases in the price of fuel would not prevent them from fishing away from home.

Hunters Feel That Media Portrayal is Often Inaccurate (April 2008):
A majority of U.S. hunters feel that portrayal of hunters in movies and on television shows is biased and inaccurate. In a poll of hunters by, 51% felt that hunters are “rarely” portrayed accurately in the media. Another 43% stated that hunter media portrayals are “sometimes” accurate. Five percent felt that hunter portrayals are “never” accurate. Only 0.63% felt that hunters are “always” portrayed accurately in the media.

Anglers Cite Access and Water Quality as Greatest Problems Facing Fishing (May 2008):
Anglers feel that access and water quality concerns are the biggest problems facing sport fishing. Specifically, 24% of anglers in an poll cited access to water as the chief problem facing fishing, while 18% named water quality problems as the greatest threat. Other problems cited by anglers included “too expensive” (15%); “invasive species” (13%); “not enough fish” (just under 12%); and “too many anglers” (4%).

Restricted Land Access Reduces Hunting Opportunities (May 2008):
Restricted access to hunting lands, especially on private property, has reduced opportunities to hunt. In a poll, just over one-third (34%) of hunters reported that restricted access to hunting lands reduced their hunting time over the past three seasons. Private hunting lands were more likely than public lands to have had restrictions placed on them, said 80% of the surveyed hunters.

Rifles Number One Choice for Deer Hunters (May 2008):
Centerfire rifles were the single most popular weapons for deer hunters during the most recent season. A poll showed that 28% of hunters used rifles to harvest their deer. Bows were the second most popular choice, for 21% of survey respondents. Muzzleloaders were the choice of 18% of hunters. Fewer hunters used shotguns (15%) or handguns (5%).

Anglers Willing to Take Action to Protect Favorite Fishing Spots (June 2008):
An overwhelming majority of anglers in an poll reported they would take preventive action if they learned that a government entity was considering closing a favorite fishing spot. Of the actions listed, the largest number of anglers (77%) stated they would e-mail their state or federal representatives to protest. A further 49% said they would write a letter to their representatives, while 44% said they would telephone their representatives, 33% said they would be willing to join organized demonstrations and protests.

Magazines Remain the Dominant Media Among Both Anglers and Hunters; Anglers' Internet Use Rises (July 2008):
Hunting and fishing magazines remain the primary sources of information and entertainment for both anglers and hunters. About 39% of anglers and 47% of hunters indicated that magazines are their primary sources of information. About 34% of anglers stated that Web sites are their primary source of fishing information, compared with about 24% in 2007-an increase of 10%. The results for hunters remained static, with about 26% reporting in 2007, and again in 2008, that the Internet is their preferred media source.

Anglers Fish for Information on the Internet (September 2008):
In an poll, 42% of anglers reported that they search the Internet more than once a week to find information about fishing techniques, products and angling destinations. Other responses were as follows: approximately once a week, 16%; one to three times a month, 20%; and less than once a month, 18%. Only 3% reported that they “never” use the Internet for this purpose.

Hunters Still Enjoy Reading Outdoor Magazines (September 2008):
A majority of American hunters subscribe to at least two outdoor magazines. In an August 2008 survey from that asked hunters how many magazine subscriptions they have, two-thirds (about 67%) reported subscribing to two or more outdoor magazines. Only 14% reported that they have no outdoor magazine subscriptions at all. About 16% of hunters have five or more magazine subscriptions.

Hunters and Shooters Fear Incoming Administration Will Make Firearms Purchases More Difficult (December 2008):
When asked to define their expectations regarding the new administration and greater control of Congress by one party, 80% of hunters and shooters said they expect it will become more difficult for them to purchase firearms. Fewer than 1% said they expect purchasing firearms will become less difficult, while 16% said they expect their firearms purchasing ability will remain the same.

Source: and are monthly national online surveys of sportsmen and women providing industry and policymakers with information on angling, hunting and shooting sports trends, activity and sales. In addition to monitoring sportsmen and women's attitudes, AnglerSurvey and HunterSurvey also tracks top brands, the percentage of sales for specific products occurring at specific types of retailers, average price points, and more. For more information, contact Rob Southwick at

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