Jim Morris
Jim Morris

Jim Morris has worked for newspapers, radio, television and various Websites for more than 47 years. He has been a writer, an editor, an editorial writer and a columnist. For 23 years, Morris worked for the Troy Daily News as sports editor, managing editor and executive editor. In 1994 he began working at the Dayton Daily News as an outdoor sports columnist and night sports desk editor. He retired from the DDN in January of 2010 and is now a freelance writer with his own Website for outdoors stories.


Half of the U.S. population got outdoors for recreation at least once in 2016. Want to guess what the most-popular activity was?

I have for years heard about kids spending too much time glued to their phones and video games and not enough time in the great outdoors. As a person addicted to my phone, I understand the dilemma.

So, I decided to check out outdoor recreation participation on the internet. I soon found the Outdoor Foundation’s latest research, showing statistics through 2016.

According to the report, “48.8 percent of the U.S. population, participated in outdoor recreation at least once in 2016.

“That equates to a total of 144.4 million people – two million more people than participated in 2015,” the report said.

Broken down, here were the top five outdoor activities in 2016: “1. Running, Jogging and Trail Running, 18 percent of Americans (52.3 million participants) 2. Freshwater, Saltwater and Fly Fishing, 16 percent of Americans (47.2 million participants) 3. Road Biking, Mountain Biking and BMX, 15 percent of Americans (45.8 million participants) 4. Hiking, (14 percent of Americans) 42.1 million participants 5. Car, Backyard, Backpacking and RV Camping, 14 percent of Americans (40.5 million participants).

“While 10.6 million Americans returned to or started participating in one or more of the outdoor activities measured, 8.6 million stopped. That’s a net gain of 2 million total participants,” according to the report.

I was interested in seeing the stats on fishing and was happy to see my favorite pastime is doing well. The report said: “Fishing participation was on the rise in 2016, increasing by 1.8 percent, or by 1.5 million participants, since the year before and reaching the highest participation rate since 2012. Indeed, in 2016, 47.2 million Americans, or 15.9 percent of the population ages 6 and up, participated in fishing at least once during the calendar year.

“There were more new/returning participants (6.1 million people) than were lost (46 million people), contributing to a 1.5 million person increase in fishing participation from 2015 to 2016.”

The only other breakdown in the report was for camping: according to the Coleman company and Outdoor Foundation, “Camping is one of America’s favorite outdoor activities, attracting 40.5 million participants in 2016. Americans participated in the activity in various ways, camping in a conventional tent, enjoying the comforts of an RV, relaxing in a cabin or roughing it.”

I looked around for some national statistics on hunting and with some difficulty came up with a 2013 report from the Wonders of Wildlife Museum: “More than 38 million Americans hunt and fish. Sportsmen and women contribute nearly $8 million a day to support wildlife and wildlife agencies. An average hunter spends $2,484 every year on the sport.”

And, interestingly, “Teenage girls are the fastest growing market in sport shooting. According to research, 72 percent more women are hunting with firearms today than just five years ago. And 50 percent more women are now target shooting

“Americans hunt a combined 282 million days per year. That’s an average of 21 days per hunter.”

Attracting wildlife: Are you interested in attracting more wildlife to your property? You might have several acres or just a backyard. If you would like some tips on how to get started, a private lands biologist can help.

A Division of Wildlife private lands biologist can be contacted by calling (937) 372-8261. He or she can also help you find programs that offer cost-share assistance to minimize out-of-pocket costs. Partners on projects include the U.S. Department of Agriculture, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Partners Program, Ducks Unlimited, Pheasants Forever and the National Wild Turkey Federation.

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Open this year’s hunting season with a trip to Olde English, proud to sponsor outdoors columnist Jim Morris on Press Pros Magazine.com!