I was pleased to see the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s recently released results of its latest National Fishing, Hunting, and Wildlife-Associated Recreation national survey. Conducted every five years in partnership with the U.S. Census Bureau, the results show that fishing participation is up nearly 20% over the last 10 years. Anglers also increased their overall spending to participate in the sport by 2.4% during the past five years.
Overall, fishing participation increased 8.2% for individuals 16 to 65 years of age over the last five years. That’s the highest level of participation since 1991. Revenue from equipment purchases and fishing trip expenditures also increased from $45 billion to $46.1 billion in the last five years.
That’s encouraging, in light of hunter participation being down. The older I get the more grateful I am that I have fishing and hunting to continue to enjoy, while my peers who engaged in other sports — with the possible exception of golf (!) — are forced off their respective playing fields. That said, I may not be climbing into treestands 20 years from now, but you can bet I’ll be drowning worms off a bank somewhere as long as I can sit upright in a chair.
Meanwhile, I hope to continue bagging my share of some 15,000 ring-necked pheasant roosters raised by the Ohio Division of Wildlife annually at their facility in Urbana. As usual, the birds will be released at 29 public hunting areas across the state late this month and into November as part of a seasonal effort by the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) to increase hunting opportunities for the once-abundant gamebird. The releases take place after legal shooting hours on Oct. 20 and 27 for the two-weekend small game hunting season that is open for youth hunters on Oct. 21-22 and 28-29. Additional releases will be conducted on select dates in November for the statewide small game hunting season. For all pheasant release dates and locations visit wildohio.gov.