That Utahns like to hunt and fish is no secret. But are we any different than residents of other states?
According to a comprehensive national study, Utahns enjoy wildlife recreation a whole lot more than the national average. And they spend a lot more money doing it.Some 959,000 Utahns, or 89 percent, participate in some wildlife-related recreation - hunting, fishing, photography, bird watching - every year, compared to 77 percent nationally.
And Utahns spent $447.3 million in the process.
Of those participants, 937,000, or 86 percent, report they enjoy "non-consumptive" wildlife activities such as photographing, observing or feeding wildlife (those include most hunters and fishermen), compared to 74 percent of the national population.
The report also notes that 140,000 Utahns (13 percent) both fish and hunt, another 165,000 (15 percent) fish but do not hunt, and another 82,000 Utahns (8 percent) hunt but do not fish.
That 36 percent total ranks Utahns among the 15 states with the biggest segments of their populations involved in hunting or fishing. Compared with neighboring states, Utah is tied with Colorado and ahead of Nevada and Arizona. But Utah's level of wildlife recreation pales by comparison with Idaho (46 percent) and Wyoming (51 percent).
Nationally, 28 percent hunt or fish.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife's just-released "National Survey of Fishing, Hunting, and Wildlife-Associated Recreation" is the seventh report since 1955 aimed at better understanding how Americans enjoy wildlife.
The results indicate more than three out of every four Americans enjoy some type of fishing, hunting or other wildlife activity annually, adding more than $55 billion to local, state and national economies, said Frank Dunkle, director of the Fish and Wildlife Service.
Nationally, 46.4 million Americans 16 years and older went fishing, spending $28.1 billion in the process, about 95 percent of it for equipment and trip-related expenses. The average fisherman fished 21 days in 1985, spending $607 on the sport.
Among all men, 37 percent participated in fishing, while 16 percent of all women fished. Researchers also noted higher participation rates among those with higher education levels. Fishermen in Utah spent 5.3 million days and $156.8 million on their sport.
Nearly 16.7 million Americans 16 years old or older went hunting in 1985, either for big game, small game, migratory birds or other animals. That represents about 9 percent of the total population (or 18 percent of the male population and 2 percent of the female population).
Those 16.7 million hunters spent $10.1 billion. The average big-game hunter took nine hunting trips per year and averaged 10 days of hunting. The average small game hunter took 11 trips and averaged 12 days in the field, while migratory bird hunters took 16 trips and spent eight days per year.
Big game hunters spend $476 a year, small game hunters $168 a year and migratory bird hunters $216 a year. In Utah, hunters pumped $119 million into the economy, while spending 3.2 million days in the field.
Most Americans enjoy "non-consumptive" wildlife activities, such as bird watching, feeding wildlife and photographing animals. Researchers discovered that 29.3 million Americans participate in these activities as the primary purpose for their trip. Another 127.4 million enjoyed wildlife while on trips taken for another purpose.
About 46 percent of those photographed wildlife and 45 percent fed wildlife. About 51 percent of the participants were women, and most are well-educated.
In addition, "It is interesting to note that nine out of 10 sportsmen who fished or hunted also reported participating in non-consumptive activities, such as feeding or photographing wildlife, apart from their sport," Dunkle wrote in the report.
Non-consumptive users spent about $14.3 billion a year, or about $106 per participant. In Utah, non-consumptive wildlife recreationists account for about $120 million to the economy.
The results of the survey will be used by federal and state agencies to forecast demands for fish and wildlife recreation and identify trends, thereby better managing resources for future generations.
Recreation at a glance
Total percent 16 &
older who participate
in wildlife recreation>hunt or
U.S. 77 28 74 307 229 78
Utah 89 36 87 414 303 111
Colorado 89 36 87 434 297 137
Wyoming 97 51 96 1,068 837 231
Nevada 75 27 74 509 317 192
Idaho 93 46 91 483 419 64
Arizona 81 24 79 323 189 134