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      Nature Report: Hunters, Fisherman, Wildlife Watchers Growing

      Hunters, fishermen and wildlife watchers are increasing throughout the United States.

      More than 90 million Americans participated in wildlife related recreation in 2011 according to a preliminary report recently released by the United States Fish and Wildlife Service. This is an increase of more than three million outdoor recreation enthusiasts since the previous survey.

      Expenditures by hunters, fishermen and wildlife-recreationists totaled $145 billion dollars for the year. This spending supports thousands of jobs connected to hunting, fishing and the observance of wildlife.

      The National Survey has been conducted by the United States Fish and Wildlife Service every five years since 1955.

      While the number of hunters 16 years and older rose to 13.7 million and fishermen increased to 33.1 million the biggest rise continues to be in wildlife watchers. In 2011 nearly 71.8 million people fed, photographed or observed wildlife as a pastime spending a staggering $55 billion on these pursuits.

      But it is the hunter and fisherman that continue to pay the brunt of conservation efforts as nearly 75 percent of the annual income for all 50 state conservation agencies is funded through the purchase of licenses and excise taxes on firearms, archery and angling equipment.

      The survey numbers have not yet been released on a state-by-state basis, but annually the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department issues approximately 2.1 million hunting and fishing licenses. And don't forget to renew your license before the end of the month.