Southwick Associates, the folks who do yearly surveys on hunting and fishing preferences, has released their recent October Hunter/Shooter Survey showing the most popular hunting, shooting equipment purchases by sportsmen and sports gals, and the species they pursued.
The panel, composed of hunters and shooters from across the country who volunteer to participate, track hunter’s/shooters’ participation and purchases for the prior two months.
The survey begins with the most popular species hunted. As expected, whitetail deer with 71.3 percent of respondents say they pursue. That’s followed by small game (rabbits/squirrels), 21.5 percent; upland birds (quail, pheasant, grouse) 18.7; dove, 14.6; turkey, 13.3; predator calling/hunting (coyotes), 12.5; mule deer, blacktail, Sitka, 10.9 percent.
The next category was the percentage of and type of hunting equipment used: Rifle, 70.0 percent; handgun, 57.5; shotgun, 26.6; bow or archery, 17.2; crossbow, 9.2; muzzleloader, 8.2; air rifle (compressed air), 7.7 percent.
Percent of firearms purchased were rifles, 54.5 percent; handguns, 45.5; shotguns, 16.7; air rifles/air guns, 3.8; muzzleloaders, 3.5 percent.
Types of shotguns purchased were pump action, 46.2 percent; semi-automatic, 26.7; over/under, 11.4; side by side, 3.2; single shot, 8.2; other, 4.2 percent.
Types of muzzleloaders purchased: Inline 69.5 percent; standard, 15.9; flintlock, 9.6; other, 5.1 percent.
Types of handguns purchased: semi-automatic 63.2 percent; revolver, 34.2; break action, 2.0; not sure, 0.6 percent.
Types of ammunition purchased: Rifle ammunition, 57.8 percent; handgun ammo, 44.8; shotgun ammo, 39.0; air rifle/air gun pellets, 2.4 percent.
Types of shotgun ammo purchased: Lead, 65 percent; non-lead/non-toxic, 32.1; other 2.4; not sure, 0.5 percent.
Types of archery items purchased: Broadheads, 47.1 percent; crossbow bolts, 26.8; arrows, 21.7; strings & accessories, 17.3; nocks, 13.6; fletching’s, 13.3; stabilizers, 12.0; archery targets, 10.2; crossbows, 7.5 percent.
Types of traditional bows purchased: Compound, 72.1 percent; recurve, 23.5; long bows, 3.7; other, 0.6 percent.
Types of hunting gear purchased: Odor eliminator, 36.1 percent; lure scent, 34.7; game feed, 29.5; hunting knives/multitools, 21.9 trail cameras, 18.7; cover scent, 16.4; game calls, 13.1; game cleaning supplies, 12.9 percent.
Types of decoys purchased: Waterfowl, 72.80 percent; turkey, 4.70; predator, 4.90; big game, 17.60 percent.
Types of game calls purchased: Waterfowl, 35.90 percent; big game, 50.2; small game, 6.7; predator, 2.6; other, 0.5 percent.
sed: Ladder stands, 29.3 percent; climbing, 16.8; hang-on, 31.2; tripod stands, 6.4; tower/box stands, 5.7; ladder and steps, 8.1; harnesses & accessories, 2.5 percent.
Equipment purchases were as follows: Ammunition, 68.4 percent; hunting accessories, 40.3; clothing and apparel, 37.1; shooting accessories, 33.4; firearms, 28.7; firearm accessories, 25.8; archery, 20.8; firearms storage (safes), 20.4; optics, 18.3; hand loading equipment, 11.7; blackpowder, 8.4 percent.
The majority of these findings follow true for Pennsylvania hunters with the exception being crossbows that would be expected to score higher in the respective categories.
A fishing survey is upcoming from Southwick which we’ll publish in a future column.
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Nick Hromiak has been an outdoors and automotive writer for over 30 years. He's been published in numerous national and state-wide outdoor magazines and newspapers.