Elk NetworkSurvey: Overcrowding, Access Issues Among Biggest Hunting Challenges

General | February 18, 2022

A new survey assessing the quality and availability of hunting and shooting access indicates  overcrowding and access to land are major concerns for hunters.

Conducted by the research group Responsive Management for the National Shooting Sports Foundation, the survey utilized telephone and online questionnaires of hunters and sport shooters in 19 different states including seven in the Southeast, five in the Midwest, five in the Northeast and two in the West.

Survey takeaways:

  • Overcrowding is the number-one factor in choosing where to hunt
  • Friends/family/word of mouth/online sources help hunters determine where to go
  • A lack of access to nearby lands caused hunters to hunt less than they desired
  • Housing and commercial development as well as private land ownership changes thwart hunting opportunity
  • Most hunters rate their state agency as doing a good job of providing access to hunt
  • Hunters in the West rate having public land available higher than those in other regions
  • No time/family or work obligations affect hunter enjoyment
  • Being familiar with the land on which to hunt is not as important as it used to be
  • Deer is the most hunted species among those surveyed

The survey also includes downloadable data highlighting the amount of acreage for hunting and shooting in each state including federal and state land, state-sponsored access programs, private acreage available to hunt, public shooting ranges and other information.

(Photo credit:  West Virginia Division of Natural Resources)