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Hunting and Shooting Participation - 5 Important Questions for You and Your Business


Whether you make a living in the outdoors industry, personally enjoy hunting and shooting sports, or both, you no doubt agree that finding ways to recruit new participants is a worthwhile effort.


There are many angles to cover on this topic, and we’ll try to bring insight into many of them over the coming weeks here at the Realtree Business Blog. To start, here is some context* on why this topic merits continued, close study:


  • A series of studies from 2009 to 2016 by the National Shooting Sports Foundation and Responsive Management tracked Americans’ participation across 10 of the most popular shooting sports activities. There was a surge in participation between 2009 and 2014, but a leveling off in 2016. Why is this?


  • This surge in shooting participation has changed the demographic make-up of the shooting sports community. In 2009, 25.8% of all shooters were female; today that percentage has risen to 31.4%. Is your business addressing this trend?


  • There has also been an influx of urban and suburban residents into sport shooting, making up about 32% of the community in 2009 and now accounting for roughly 40% of all sport shooters. Are you taking this type of information into account when marketing your business products and services?


  • Among the entire population of hunters and sport shooters, a majority are now non-hunters. This has been a steady trend among the entire hunting-shooting population moving to non-hunting with 39% being non-hunters in 2012, 44% being non-hunters in 2014, and 51% being non-hunters in 2016. For an easy-to-digest summary, note this graphic:


hunting and shooting participation: 2012-2017 | Realtree B2B


Two more questions for you: Are you adding products and services to capture the interest of potential new customers who make up this trend? Can you think of ways to interest new shooters in hunting?


  • Related to the above question on hunter participation, it’s of significant concern that although the number of paid hunting license holders has held steady at 14-15 million a year for the past decade, that number is not increasing in proportion to the total U.S. population. What can you and your business do to improve hunter participation?


Editor’s Note: In future blog posts on this site, we’ll look more closely at this potential, specific strategies to increase hunter participation.


*Participation information from the National Shooting Sports Foundation’s summary, Sport Shooting Participation in the United States: 2017 Study.


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