ONTD Political

More Americans watch birds than hunt

3:24 pm - 02/21/2013
We haven't heard much about hunting during the ongoing debate over gun violence. Perhaps that's because hunting is widely seen as a traditional, enjoyable, and safe pastime, even among the majority of Americans who have never donned camo and hunting orange. Or perhaps that's because most hunters don't need AR-15s or high-capacity magazines. Or perhaps it's because hunters are a minority among the 80 million or so gun-owning Americans.

How many hunters are there? In 2011, according to the US Fish and Wildlife Service (PDF), 15.7 million Americans older than six went hunting. That's nearly 29 million less than went fishing, and 3 million less than went out to watch birds. Back in 1955, about 10 percent of Americans hunted; today it's around 6 percent. Overall, the number of hunters began to dip in the '90s but has slowly increased in the past few years.



Who hunts? The FWS's latest survey finds that hunters are 89 percent male and 94 percent white. More than half are 45 or older. Nearly 60 percent live in small metropolitan areas or rural areas. Similarly, about 80 percent of all gun owners are men, and they have been getting older as their numbers have fallen. (Around 35 percent of Americans say they own a gun.) A recent National Rifle Association (NRA) survey of its members found that nearly half identify as hunters and that they, like hunters in general, are largely from small towns and rural areas.

What do they hunt? More than 80 percent of hunters go after big game such as deer and elk. About 4.5 million hunt small game such as squirrels; 2.6 million hunt ducks and other birds, and 2.2 million go after other animals like feral pigs.

What do they shoot? Ninety-three percent of hunters use rifles or shotguns. In 2011, they spent more than $4.3 billion on firearms and ammunition. That makes them a significant part of the nearly $12 billion US firearms market, but they're not driving it. A 2010 survey by the National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF) found that most Americans buy guns for protection; less than a 30 percent of those who recently bought a gun got it for hunting. Which may explain why the NRA has been focusing less on hunting and more on protecting the market for lucrative assault rifles and handguns. Just 6 percent of semiautomatic rifle owners told the NSSF that they were primarily used for hunting.



How do non-hunters see hunting? In a 2011 NSSF survey, 73 percent of respondents said they had no interest in ever going hunting. Yet even if they don't do it themselves, most Americans have a positive view of hunting: 74 percent said they approve of it. But hunting isn't America's most popular wildlife-related recreational activity: It's fishing, which 98 percent of Americans have no problem with.

source has links to the reports these statistics are drawn from
ediesedgwick 22nd-Feb-2013 02:12 am (UTC)
"hunters are 89 percent male and 94 percent white."

More proof that white men have no souls
zinnia_rose 22nd-Feb-2013 02:14 am (UTC)
The FWS's latest survey finds that hunters are 89 percent male and 94 percent white. More than half are 45 or older. Nearly 60 percent live in small metropolitan areas or rural areas. Similarly, about 80 percent of all gun owners are men, and they have been getting older as their numbers have fallen.

"What a surprise!" said no one ever.

Just 6 percent of semiautomatic rifle owners told the NSSF that they were primarily used for hunting.

Well, on the one hand, good, because hunting with a semiautomatic assault rifle would be ridiculous. But on the other hand...what else are they using them for? D:

It's fishing, which 98 percent of Americans have no problem with.

Really? This is surprising to me. I find fishing for sport to be little better than hunting for sport.
keeperofthekeys 22nd-Feb-2013 02:31 am (UTC)
because hunting with a semiautomatic assault rifle would be ridiculous.

Not really, though? Unless I'm not understanding your comment. I've used a number of semi-automatic rifles for hunting. Not anything that would be classified as a "assault" rifle in past US law, but you could use those and it wouldn't be ridiculous.

That said, I have also used bolt-action rifles for hunting, and I don't find the argument that one "needs" a semi-auto for hunting that compelling.
zinnia_rose 22nd-Feb-2013 02:34 am (UTC)
Okay, never mind then. I just find it difficult to imagine why one would need to spray bullets with an assault rifle while hunting.
natyanayaki 22nd-Feb-2013 04:11 am (UTC)
I find fishing for sport to be little better than hunting for sport.

I don't even know if it is "better," I'm not saying this is true about you or anyone else in this comm, but anecdotal speaking (and I know that means very little in comparison to things), but I find that very few people think of fishing as essentially "drowning the fish to death." Not really a quick death.

For food, it's one thing, but for sport?
zinnia_rose 22nd-Feb-2013 04:29 am (UTC)
I do think fishing is drowning fish, after spearing them through the roof of the mouth with a sharp hook. The only reason it might be a teeny tiny step up from hunting is because the nervous system of a fish is not quite as advanced as the nervous system of mammals (not sure about birds). But I think they're both morally reprehensible, and I don't understand why so many people are fine with killing living things for fun.
futureframe 22nd-Feb-2013 03:25 am (UTC)
so...I just had the saddest, creepiest thought brought on by two statistics:

47% of men own a gun to 13% of women (also more likely to be a white gun owner than a black one, etc)
(2005 gallup poll http://www.gallup.com/poll/20098/gun-ownership-use-america.aspx )


and


you are 10 times more likely to have a gun used ON you that to be protected by a gun : "In 1992 offenders armed with handguns committed a record 931,000 violent crimes. ... On average in 1987-92 about 83,000 crime victims per year used a firearm to defend themselves or their property."

I wish it was more recent but that's 2,550 violent crimes involving a gun per day vs. 227 crimes being prevented by a gun per day. AKA you are ten times more likely to be involved in a crime against you with a gun than having a gun prevent a crime against you.

http://bjs.ojp.usdoj.gov/content/pub/ascii/hvfsdaft.txt



the way those two statistics mash into who is being the most vocal for guns rights and who is being most affected by gun violence and being silenced: women, minorities. ICK.

edited for clarity. sad and inebriated. :(



Edited at 2013-02-22 03:26 am (UTC)
romp 22nd-Feb-2013 03:31 am (UTC)
(apologies if 2 comments post)

When I lived in the US, the only hunters I knew did it for sport with one guy even using canned hunts. And he killed my dog and hit his kid...so that probably coloured my view.

In Canada, I've only met people who hunt for the purpose of filling their freezer for winter. Granted, I live in a fairly rural area so that might affect my experience but I've never had a man here get loud and his eyes light up while he talks about hunting. I haven't seen an excitement about it.

Finally, I prefer hunting from an ethical standpoint if it's hunting vs. industrialized meat.
natyanayaki 22nd-Feb-2013 04:18 am (UTC)
And he killed my dog

I'm so sorry :-(.

Finally, I prefer hunting from an ethical standpoint if it's hunting vs. industrialized meat.

I'm honestly so torn on this. On the one hand, I prefer hunting/personally fishing for food than the status quo, because I find it extremely disturbing that corporations raise (non-human) animals in filth, abuse them, over-medicate them, depress them all so that they can feed us, on the other hand,I with the technology the human species now possess, and population numbers, I worry that going back to primarily hunting could have such devastating effects. Industrial farming is horrible for the environment, I know that, but how much longer would elk, buffalo, bears, wolves etc last?
wikilobbying 22nd-Feb-2013 03:41 am (UTC)
lmao of course this pops up the day after my dad and i get into a gun control debate where he went hard on the sport/hunting thing. i knew for a fact that he was full of shit acting like most ("responsible" "law-abiding" as he constantly loves to stress these days) gun owners are hunters and police officers, but having these numbers on hand about it would have been nice.

you all can't believe the temptation to plaster this on the facebook i otherwise never just because i know he'll see it.

Edited at 2013-02-22 03:44 am (UTC)
othellia 22nd-Feb-2013 06:06 am (UTC)
About 4.5 million hunt small game such as squirrels; 2.6 million hunt ducks and other birds, and 2.2 million go after other animals like feral pigs.

Who hunts squirrels?
hinoema 22nd-Feb-2013 06:25 am (UTC)
Bird watchers who don't want the little buggers eating their birdseed?
natyanayaki 22nd-Feb-2013 06:53 am (UTC)
A couple months ago I heard an interview with a man advocated hunting/eating urban squirrels as a way to reduce the amount of factory farmed animals one eats among other things.
romp 22nd-Feb-2013 07:08 am (UTC)
Kind of like what natyanayaki, more and more people are proposing that we eat invasive species like Asian carp. I know the native squirrels were I live are a minority.

But, yeah, it's not happening tomorrow. :)
sentinelsoul 22nd-Feb-2013 07:40 am (UTC)
Lot of people actually, at least in my rural area. There's no season on them, I believe, and you can probably even get them with only a BB gun.

I have a cousin who used to shoot squirrels for extra food when he was a kid. *shrugs*
maenads_dance 22nd-Feb-2013 10:47 am (UTC)
Some of my closest friends do. I've eaten squirrel before - not very tasty, if you ask me, but ymmv. I've really enjoyed the venison I've had at my friends' table, though.
cinnamontoast 22nd-Feb-2013 01:49 pm (UTC)
My brother used to hunt them. The whole house smelled so bad when he cooked them.
keeperofthekeys 22nd-Feb-2013 05:59 pm (UTC)
I have, actually. I really like the way they taste, and when my dad's hosted "mystery meat" dinners, most people have picked out the squirrel as their favorite.
crossfire 22nd-Feb-2013 08:38 pm (UTC)
Braised squirrel is awesome. (I know that sounds weird, but it's really true.)
toxic_glory 22nd-Feb-2013 11:39 am (UTC)
in my home town, these stats would be way different. deer hunting is a big thing there. they do it for sport but they also usually eat the meat and all that. it's really common in that area to see t-shirts with dead deer, scantily clad women, guns, beer, and confederate flags...as in, all on the same shirt. so maybe that's why I have this idea that more Americans are hunters than this study indicates.
cinnamontoast 22nd-Feb-2013 02:01 pm (UTC)
Same here; I'm upstate NY/PA. Schools have holidays on the first days of hunting season - "Buck Day" and "Doe Day" because so few kids show up for school.
keeperofthekeys 22nd-Feb-2013 06:03 pm (UTC)
Yeah, same thing where I grew up in WI. A lot of kids would be gone from school the Friday before deer hunting season began. And the radio stations would be playing the "Turdy Point Buck" song.

Even outside of season, a lot of people wore their blaze orange or camo hats or jackets as everyday wear. There's always a good amount of blaze orange in lambeau field on gameday.
romp 23rd-Feb-2013 12:32 am (UTC)
I saw some of those where I grew up. My fave was the accents they suddenly developed, despite being born and raised on the west coast. Single-syllable words--like gun, dog, and truck--suddenly gain a syllable of drawl.
cinnamontoast 22nd-Feb-2013 07:30 pm (UTC)
Way back HS ('70s), I had a good friend that hunted bear with a long bow. And yes, her family ate bear. They gave away a good bit of the meat too because there was lots of it.

I always thought that this was the fairest bit of hunting I'd ever seen. She was awesome with a bow and arrow. She had to be. Missing could be fatal.
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