Number of U.S. hunters greater than expected.

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A new study funded by NSSF and conducted by Southwick Associates has found that the pool of American hunters is much larger than previously thought. Rob Southwick, president of Southwick Associates, says turning these "casual hunters" (who do not purchase a hunting license on an annual basis) into annual license buyers could bring major benefits to the shooting and outdoor industries, and more funds to state treasuries.

"Considering hunters contribute more than $1 billion every year to wildlife conservation via licenses and excise taxes, if half of the hunters who lapsed this year had bought a license, conservation dollars would have increased by $97 million," Southwick said.

The NSSF report estimates that 21.8 million Americans hunted at least once over the past five years. Previous estimates have shown more than 14 million youth and adults hunt each year, but not all hunters take to the field every year.

Conducted in partnership with 17 state wildlife agencies, the study assessed license sales patterns and found that 78 percent of the U.S. hunters who bought a...

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