The National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF) just announced that hunting licenses in the nation increased by 3.6 percent in 2009. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service reported a total of 14,974,534 paid license holders for 2009, the largest figure since 2002 and an increase of 526,494 over 2008. The number of fishing licenses in the nation also increased by 4.7 percent.
Many study groups that follow trends feel that our recent struggling economy plays a role in the number of people who continue to hunt and fish. Despite recent studies that hint activities such as hunting and fishing are on the decline in our country, there are apparently still a sizable percentage of Americans that believe being more self-sufficient by harvesting their own food helps see them through tough economic times. In 2009, the DEC estimated that hunters in New York State legally harvested 12 million pounds of wild meat valued at $40 million. Add fish harvested to that and, well, you get the picture.
Another indicator that the self-sufficient attitude still exists has been the increase in people now growing their own vegetables. Whether it requires replacing a section of lawn with a tilled garden plot or raising the vegetables in pails, window boxes or other containers or a community garden area, it helps reduce the family grocery bills. And with all food prices steadily increasing, it’s expected these trends will continue.