HRC Research Primer: Hunting in the United States


This primer summarizes the available quantitative research relating to public attitudes toward the hunting of land animals for sport, subsistence, or other reasons, including wildlife management.

The Bottom Line: The number of hunters in the U.S. has declined over the past few decades due to a variety of factors. The most recent estimate provided by the United States Fish and Wildlife Service says that about 5% of the U.S. adult population (12.5 million people age 16 and older) engaged in hunting in 2006.

Despite the decline in hunting activity, the majority of U.S. adults are at least somewhat supportive of legalized hunting. The primary reasons for this support include the perception of hunting as "an American tradition" and a personal right. Also, hunting is considered by many to be a viable method of managing wildlife, ostensibly for human concerns (prevention of property, pet, or farm animal loss, or prevention of animal-vehicle collisions, etc.) or animal welfare reasons (to mitigate disease, to prevent destruction of wildlife habitat, etc.).

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