Business Blog

Understanding Cross-Participation by Firearms Hunters



If you are a manufacturer or retailer whose business focuses on selling to hunters, it may be valuable to know what your core customers’ other interests are. Understanding “cross-participation” in outdoor pursuits is the first step to successful “cross-promotion.”


A recent study by the National Sporting Goods Association, “Sports Participation in the United States,” measures the number of individuals 7 years of age or older who participated in each of a number of different sports and recreational activities within the previous year.


An important data collection within this research takes a detailed look at cross-participation among activities. The study provides a window into seeing what percentage of 34,000 respondents participated in multiple sports and activities, and exactly which ones.


Let’s look at the data pertaining to individuals who hunt with firearms. In this study, the number of participants is calculated at 18,027,000 firearms hunters, or 6.1% of the U.S. population age 7 and older.


A few notable finds:  

  • Not surprisingly, half of all firearms hunters also participate in freshwater fishing. This is the No. 1 cross-participation activity for this group.


  • The percentage of firearms hunters who bowhunt is relatively high, at 25.9%, but bowhunting is only the 7th highest cross-participation activity, following exercise walking (44.2%), camping (39.7%), hiking (39.6%), exercising with equipment (34.8%), and target shooting (33.1%).


  • Firearms hunters are much more active than the average American. For example, while only 10% of the U.S. population reports taking part in freshwater fishing, 50% of firearms hunters participate. Hiking is another example: 14.6% participation by the general population, but 39.6% for hunters.


Below is the complete data on cross-participation in sports and activities by firearms hunters. It is worth noting, again, the extremely high participation rates when compared with the total U.S. population. Of these 21 activities, 19 show higher engagement by firearms hunters.


Firearms Hunters Cross-Participation outdoor activities in 2017 | Realtree B2B

This data reveals that there are endless opportunities to market additional products and services to a highly active audience of American hunters.


Editor’s Note: In our next installment, we’ll look at some comparative participation data for bowhunters, which also reveals some exciting cross-promotional opportunities.