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Who is Today's Bowhunter


Bowhunting, an endeavor that is both time- and gear-intensive, tends to attract sportsmen and women who are more passionate than most folks when it comes to their outdoor pursuits. To many of them, bowhunting is a lifestyle.


With that in mind, let’s take a closer look at the U.S.’s nearly 6 million bowhunters and try to better understand who they are and what their other interests include.


A 2018 demographic profile from the National Sporting Goods Association in its report, “Sports Participation in 2018, Shooting Sports” prepared for the National Shooting Sports Foundation, confirms one unmistakable trend: the growing involvement by women who hunt with bow and arrow. The study revealed that of 5,900,000 bowhunting participants, 1,655,000, or 28.3%, were female.


Also revealed in the study:


  • The 25 to 34 age group comprised more than one-fourth (25.9%) of all bowhunters.


  • Of particular interest to media buyers and retail managers: Participation in bowhunting crosses all market sizes, with 34% of all bowhunters living in a market with a population of 2 million or more.


  • Bowhunters as a group are more diverse than ever, with 8.6% identified as African American and 6.8% as Hispanic.


  • The South Atlantic region of the U.S. is home to nearly one-fifth (19.4%) of all bowhunters, followed closely by the East North Central region at 17.1% and East South Central at 15.8%.


A related NSGA study released earlier this year tallied cross-participation by bowhunters in other activities. Not surprising but certainly notable is the fact that 81% of bowhunters also hunt with a firearm, 51% participate in freshwater fishing, and 51% take part in target archery.


To see more data as well as other high-level cross-participation activities by bowhunters:


At nearly 6 million strong, bowhunters cross many demographics and have a wide variety of outdoor interests. Who are they?


Male: 71.7%

Female: 28.3%

By Age:

7-11     4.1%

12-17   9.1%

18-24   13.3%

25-34   25.9%

45-54   14.1%

55-64   8.6%

65-74   3.4%

75+      .3%


Household Income:

Under $25K                25.7%

$25-$34,999                6.7%

$35-49,999                  11.8%

$50-$74,999                16.7%

$75-$99,999                13.2%

$100-$149,999            13.1%

$150,000+                   12.7%


Where They Live

New England              1.5%

Middle Atlantic           11.6%

East North Central      17.1%

West North Central     6.9%

South Atlantic             19.4%

East South Central      15.8%

West South Central     11%

Mountain                     6.4%

Pacific                         10.1%


Top Cross Participation Activities

% Bowhunters Participating in …                  Total U.S. Participation

Hunting with Firearms            81%                 6%

Freshwater Fishing                 50.7%              10.1%

Target Archery                        50.6%              2.7%

Camping                                 44.5%              14.3%

Exercise Walking                    41.9%              35.4%

Hiking                                     34.7%              14.9%

Target Shooting                      34.3%              6.8%

Boating                                    32%                 5%

Exercising with Equipment     31%                 18.8%


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