“Hunting is a way of life for many of us. Most Americans recognize and agree with that,” said David Allen, Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation president and CEO. “Hunting is conservation! It has a tremendous positive impact on wildlife and wildlife habitat.”
The findings continue a similar positive trend over the last two decades. Survey respondents expressed their approval of hunting to the tune of 75 percent in 2003, 78 percent in 2006, 74 percent in 2001, and 79 percent in 2013. Conversely, the overall disapproval of hunting continues to level off and even drop over the long run. According to survey data, the rate measured 22 percent in 1985 and just 12 percent in 2015 (see graph below).
The findings also suggest that Americans’ support for hunting is conditionally based on varying factors. Respondents overwhelmingly approved of hunting for meat, to protect humans from harm, for animal population control, for wildlife management and to protect property (see graph below).
Hunting approval varies considerably according to species with deer, wild turkey, small game, waterfowl and elk topping the list (see graph below).
Data also points to the impact of the specific method of hunting in influencing overall approval or disapproval. More than half of the respondents approve of hunting with dogs but less than half support high-fence preserves, using special scents and hunting over bait among other choices (see graph below).
Other factors have a tendency to influence one’s opinion of hunting including where a person lives, their age, ethnicity, exposure to eating wild game and if they have a family member or friend that is a hunter.
Hunting and the shooting sports industry also fund America’s conservation efforts. Recent statistics show hunters and anglers generated $1.1 billion in 2014 which the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service distributed to state and territorial agencies to support conservation and recreation projects.
“Hunting has a tremendous and measureable link to conservation. Hunters deserve to be proud of their contributions to wildlife, habitat and resource management,” added Allen.