U.S. Department of Agriculture: Forest Service -- National Agroforestry Center


Date of this Version



Mockrin, Miranda H.; Aiken, Richard A.; Flather, Curtis H. 2012. Wildlife-associated recreation trends in the United States: A technical document supporting the Forest Service 2010 RPA Assessment. Gen. Tech. Rep. RMRS-GTR-293. Fort Collins, CO: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station. 34 p.


U.S. government work.


The Forest and Rangeland Renewable Resources Planning Act (RPA) of 1974 requires periodic assessments of the condition and trends of the Nation’s renewable natural resources. In this report, we document recent and historical trends in hunting and wildlife watching to fulfill RPA requirements. Using data from the U.S. Department of the Interior, Fish and Wildlife Service’s National Survey of Fishing, Hunting, and Wildlife-Associated Recreation we present historical trends back to 1955 as well as recent changes from the past 10 to 20 years to evaluate changes in recreation since the 2000 RPA Assessment. We report on several attributes of wildlife recreation, including number of participants, days participating, recreation on public and private land, and economic expenditures. We found that participation in wildlife-associated recreation continues to change, with fewer Americans taking part in hunting and wildlife watching over the past 20 years. Total days devoted to recreation have declined along with number of participants, but the annual expenditures per participant and days of recreation per participant have generally risen or remained stable. We discuss variation in participation among types of hunting and across RPA Regions of the United States. Documenting and understanding these changes in wildlife-associated recreation is essential to ensure the continued successful management of wildlife resources.