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Thursday, April 11, 2013

Public Approval of Hunting Hits 17-Year High

If you are a hunter, more Americans support that activity right now than at any time since 1995. A new survey conducted by the independent research firm Responsive Management for the National Shooting Sports Foundation shows 79 percent of Americans approve of hunting. 

Conducted in February 2013, the nationwide scientific survey showed public approval of hunting rose five points in the past year, up from 74 percent in 2011. 

The survey used using random digit dialing and supplemental cellular telephone sampling, was the fifth in a series of similar surveys by Responsive Management to track trends in public approval of hunting since 1995. Support for hunting remained generally consistent–73 percent in 1995; 75 percent in 2003; 78 percent in 2006; 74 percent in 2011; and a peak of 79 percent in 2013. 

“Approval of hunting among Americans is fairly stable and bounces between 73 and 79 percent,” said Mark Damian Duda, executive director of Response Management. “The reasons for this increase are still unclear, but it is probably related to the increase in hunting and shooting participation.” 

The 2011 National Survey of Fishing, Hunting and Wildlife-Associated Recreation National Overview indicates 13.7 million people, or 6 percent of the U.S. population age 16 and older, went hunting. That marks a 9 percent increase in hunting participation since 2006. Duda also said shooting participation increased 18 percent since 2009. 

“Other studies we have conducted on public opinion on hunting show that the strongest correlation for approval of hunting is knowing a hunter–over and above demographic variables or anything else. With the increased number of hunters in the field and sport shooters at the range, it is possible that this is being reflected in this uptick in support for hunting,” added Duda. 

One thousand Americans 18 years old and older took part in the survey to achieve a sampling error of plus or minus 3.00 percentage points. More than half (52%) of those surveyed strongly approved of hunting. At the other end of the spectrum, 12 percent of Americans disapprove of hunting—the lowest such rate since public tracking began in 1995. Another 8 percent neither approve nor disapprove (total does not equal 100% due to rounding).

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