The Hunting and Trapping industry has been prey to fading American interest in hunting and fishing. IBISWorld  estimates 11.8 million Americans over the age of 16 will participate in hunting activities in 2012, a decline of 1.0% since 2007 when 12.4 million Americans hunted. Stringent government regulations, urban sprawl, rural migration to cities, growth in competing activities (e.g. wildlife watching) and increasing public aversion to hunting have caused this decline. According to IBISWorld industry analyst Brian Bueno, the industry comprises mainly hunting and fishing reserves and commercial hunters and trappers that hunt to sell fur. So as US fur demand has fallen, the industry has faced particularly negative demand conditions. The loyal 4.7% of Americans that hunt, however, have kept the industry alive. As such, revenue is estimated to decline at a mild annualized rate of 0.2% to $466.4 million over the five years to 2012, with a decline of 0.3% anticipated in 2012.
The commercial hunting and trapping segment, which makes up 17.1% of industry revenue, has faced increasingly weak demand over recent years. “Falling fur demand from apparel manufacturers has hurt earnings from this segment,” Bueno says, “though the main driver of falling sales is mounting external competition from fur-bearing animal breeders.” Relative to their revenue share, commercial hunters and trappers make up a majority of Hunting and Trapping industry firms. As a result of slowed demand and increasing competition, the number of firms fell at a yearly rate of 1.4% on average over the five years to 2012. Although there are economies of scale in regards to marketing, the benefits of these are too small to encourage much consolidation within the industry. The industry includes a significant number of self-employed commercial hunters and trappers. About 97.1% of firms in the industry are non-employing because commercial hunters and trappers are typically one-man enterprises and operating preserves can require few to no employees.
Hunting and fishing preserves generate the majority of industry revenue, and they have increased their share over the past five years. Despite decreased US demand for hunting and fishing, these operators have grown to cater an array of services offered to recreationalists seeking more than a simple hunting day-trip. Many hunting and fishing preserves now offer amenities, such as accommodations, meals, equipment, training and guided hunts, with multiday packages. Avid hunters with strong disposable incomes have flocked to these retreats as a form of domestic travel. IBISWorld anticipates that the preserves segment will support the industry over the five years to 2017; however, growth will be offset by the inescapable trend of fewer hunters in general. For more information, visit  IBISWorld’s Hunting and Trapping in the US industry report page.