U.S. Gun Owners Outnumbered Hunters by 5 to 1 in 2011

By Patrick Burke | February 4, 2013 | 2:05pm EST

(AP photo)

(CNSNews.com) -- In 2011, gun owners in the United States outnumbered hunters by 5 to 1.

There were 13.7 million hunters in the United States over age 16 -- 12.7 million of whom used rifles, shotguns or handguns for hunting, according to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

That means hunters constituted only 15.9 to 18.1 percent of the estimated 70-80 million gun owners in the U.S. in 2011 -- the latest year for which statistics are available.

In a Dec. 28 national report, USF&W said 13.7 million individuals over age 16 self-identified as hunters, and that 12.7 million used guns (shotguns, rifles or handguns) while hunting.

Another 2.9 million hunters used antique muzzleloaders to hunt, but according to USF&W, there is overlap between this figure and other figures due to self-reporting.

Around 4.5 million hunted with bows and arrows.

The National Rifle Association (NRA), meanwhile, estimates there were between 70 and 80 million American gun owners as of January 2011.

Those 70-80 million gun owners had in their possession almost 300 million firearms, about 100 million of which were handguns.

A spokesperson for the NRA told CNSNews.com that gun-owner estimates are conservative because they may not take into account those who inherit firearms from family members or other instances when gun owners wouldn't be reflected in data sets.

According to a Gallup poll from October 2011, 47 percent of all Americans reported ownership of a gun in their home or on their property. Gallup estimated that 34 percent of Americans age 18 and over personally own a gun.

The Dec. 28 report, titled “2011 National Survey of Fishing, Hunting and Wildlife-Associated Recreation” compiled statistics on fishing and hunting trends in the United States for 2011. The Survey is released every five years.

The government also found that hunters age 16 and over spent more than $3 billion on firearms in 2011 and spent $1.3 billion on ammunition. Approximately 52 percent of all hunters went target shooting in 2011 and 22 percent went to shooting ranges.

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is part of the U.S. Department of the Interior.

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