Study: interest in wildlife, outdoors resurges

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service released a new survey Thursday documenting resurgence in the number of Americans who say they hunt, fish and watch birds or other wildlife.

The survey estimates that hunting participation has increased by 9 percent nationwide since the last survey five years ago. The number of people fishing grew by 11 percent. Overall, nearly 38 percent of Americans say they took part in wildlife-related recreation.

The numbers are a reversal of recent surveys, which had shown a decline in participation in these activities.

In Minnesota, the number of licensed hunters and anglers has held steady in recent years, with around 1.5 million anglers and just under 600,000 hunters.

The DNR projects those numbers will start to decline, because 18- to 34-year-olds are not taking up the activity at the same rates as previous generations.

"We've got a lot of hunters and anglers in the baby boomer generation, and the 18- to 34-year-old cohort is not recruiting into hunting and angling like the Baby Boomers did," said Ed Boggess, director of fish and wildlife for the Department of Natural Resources.

Boggess said hunters, anglers and wildlife watchers spend an estimated $4 billion in the state every year.

— Follow Dan Kraker on Twitter: http://twitter.com/dankraker

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