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Hunting in the U.S. - Statistics & Facts

Updated: Nov 21, 2023

For many Americans, hunting in the U.S. is not only a form of sports and recreation but a way of life. What began as a necessity for survival developed into a time-honored tradition. According to statistics & facts, this is evidenced by the number of hunting license holders in the United States, which grew by over half a million in 2023. Hunting is generally regulated on a state-by-state basis in the country; however, some species are protected by federal law, and all of those who hunt protected species in the U.S. are required to hold a hunting license. In 2023, the U.S. state with the highest number of hunting licenses, tags, permits, and stamps issued was Wisconsin at over 4.5 million. That same year, the gross cost of hunting licenses in the U.S. added up to over one billion U.S. dollars.

How big is the U.S. hunting industry?

Because hunting takes place in the great outdoors, the industry was able to weather the worst of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, which devastated many sectors across the United States. The most recent figures for the industry’s market size forecasted a slight increase in sector scale from 2022 to 2023; however, the market was not expected to surpass its pre-pandemic levels in 2023. That year, the market size of the hunting and trapping sector in the U.S. was forecast to reach nearly 870 million U.S. dollars, up from the previous year’s total of 848.3 million U.S. dollars. The industry was also expected to experience growth in terms of the overall number of businesses and employees in 2023, 14.3 thousand and 15.8 thousand, respectively.

Most popular weapons used for hunting in the U.S.

Hunters use a wide variety of weapons to take down their prey, including rifles, shotguns, handguns, bows, and more. Although the type of firearm used in hunting is often dependent on the type of game being hunted, and the area where the activity is taking place, some firearms are more popular than others. In 2022, rifles were the most popular firearm used by hunters in the U.S., while handguns were the least popular. A total of 10.81 million Americans went rifle hunting that year compared to the 2.99 million Americans who hunted with handguns. Some hunters prefer to give themselves an even greater challenge by hunting with a bow. In 2022, the number of bow hunting participants in the U.S. amounted to 4.74 million. This text provides general information. Statista assumes no liability for the information given being complete or correct. Due to varying update cycles, statistics can display more up-to-date data than referenced in the text.

Note: Published by Statista Research Department, Oct 26, 2023

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