Almost 40 million Americans report that they like to go hunting and fishing; experts report that a large percentage of anglers are women. Not only are more women shooting game than ever before, they are also fishing in record numbers. More than one-third of all fly fisherman are women, and the market for wading gear and other trout fishing equipment continues to rise across America.
Surprisingly, hunting and fishing enthusiasts generate almost $3 billion every year for conservation organizations: excise taxes and licensing fees allow for maintenance and upkeep on trails and park buildings. While some hunters prefer to camp outdoors, there is also an expanding market for luxury hunting travel packages, where the game is more exotic and the accommodations are rustic but beautiful. Serious fly fishing enthusiasts often travel around the world in order to find the most relaxing and productive fishing locales.
Newcomers to the sport of fly fishing are advised to consult with local pro shops or with experienced anglers. Local businesses often host introductory seminars: people who wish to learn how to tie fly fishing knots, to select the proper poles and waders, and to become comfortable with fishing terms may find that a weekend class for beginners is a good introduction to the sport.
There are also introductory hunting and fishing classes widely available for children and teens. While some adults may have gone hunting with their parents, there are also some older hunters who are looking for experience and guidance to navigate “the Great Outdoors.” Obtaining basic safety training and firearms certification can greatly improve new hunters’ confidence and skill. Experienced local hunters may lead their own classes and excursions; certification requirements for trip leaders vary by state.
Finding a sense of pride and accomplishment outdoors, fully immersed in the natural world, can be invigorating to hunters and fishers of any age. Fly fishing enthusiasts often say that fly fishing is closer to an art than a sport; finding balance and peace of mind is just as important to them as the fish that they catch and release. Hunters often use every part of the animals they trap or shoot, and report that catching their own food can be very rewarding.
Part of the excitement that drives hunting and fishing enthusiasts is the sense of being part of the natural world. Spending time away from busy — and noisy — cities can allow people of any age to feel a timeless connection with the natural environment. Hunting and fishing are billion-dollar industries, but the lessons learned are enduring and priceless.