For some Americans, hunting is a family tradition – a way to spend time together outdoors and build a greater appreciation for nature. For others, it's a sustainable way to put healthy food on the table.
Hunting is also about conservation. The majority of funding for state fish and wildlife agencies comes directly from hunters, anglers, and shooting sports enthusiasts. Hunters pay their way through licenses, permits, and other fees ($796 million annually). In addition, every purchase of a box of ammunition, a firearm, or archery gear includes a fee (called an "excise tax") that helps fund state fish and wildlife programs – more than $371 million in 2011 alone. It was sportsmen who developed this "user pay" system. Without these funds, state agencies would effectively cease to operate, which would affect outdoor recreation opportunities for all residents and visitors.