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Shooting Sports More Diverse Than Ever

Charlie T Waite

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More and more people from all walks of life are enjoying safe, responsible gun ownership.

Diversity among target shooters has increased significantly in the U.S. over the past decade, according to a new report released by the Council to Advance Hunting and the Shooting Sports and the Outdoor Foundation. Last year 35 percent of those who shot targets with a firearm were female, up from the 25 percent a decade ago and tying the record set in 2020. Black and Hispanic participation were up 5 and 4 percent, respectively.

The “2022 Special Report on Hunting and the Shooting Sports provides a comprehensive look at the more than 30 million Americans, ages six and over, who participated at least once in hunting or target shooting with both firearms and archery equipment in 2021. The report identifies trends and includes detailed information about participation including motivations, barriers and preferences of participants.

“We are excited to release this report and believe it will prove valuable in the short and long term as we evaluate participation trends,” said the Council’s Director of Research and Partnerships Swanny Evans, who presented a preliminary look at during a presentation at the Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies Annual Meeting last week in Fort Worth, TX. “It is important to note that these data will not always align with hunting license sale data, but that tracking both sale and survey data go a long way to providing a better overall picture of the trends in hunting and shooting sports participation.”

Recreation was cited as the chief motivation for enthusiasts who went target shooting in 2021. The number one barrier that prevented them from doing so more often was high cost.

The report wasn’t exclusively glowing news for the shooting sports, however. Participation was down 7 percent compared to 2020 figures. The report notes, “The 2021 participation rate was the lowest on record since participation tracking began 15 years ago. Total outings and the average number of outings per participants also fell in 2021.”

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