The Pandemic Effect: How 2020 Changed Hunting

Read our exclusive report detailing what we can learn from hunting’s biggest year.

A Rapid Rise

The hunting landscape has seen a dramatic shift in recent years. Alongside growth throughout the outdoor industry, 2020 saw a 5% increase in the number of hunting licenses sold. What’s more, this growth was fueled by a 25% increase in new hunters. After decades of decline, that’s a big deal.

We know the COVID pandemic had a lot to do with the increase in hunter participation, but that alone doesn’t answer specific questions or provide deeper insight. In order to get to the real why, we partnered with top research firm Southwick Associates to ask new and seasoned hunters from across the country about their motivations and experiences—whether they’re hunting their first season or their thirtieth. The resulting report, linked below, details our findings and provides a new perspective on hunter participation and how our sport is evolving.

Hunt Research Blog Land Types

Check out the report for answers to these questions and more:

  • Where are hunters hunting–public land, private parcels, or walk-in programs?
  • How successful are first-time hunters?
  • Would hunters forgo a filled freezer if they could get a chance at a trophy hunt anywhere in the world?
  • What exactly is in an experienced hunter’s tool kit, and how do newbies compare?
  • How do seasoned hunters really feel about newbies?
  • How do younger hunters feel about technology and fair chase?
  • What is the #1 hunting resource out there?
  • How do you stack up to your peers as a new or seasoned hunter?
Hunt Research Blog Stats

A Few Key Findings

The full report details just about everything you’d hope to know about why new folks have found hunting—and how experienced hunters feel about it. We’ve summarized some highlights below, but check out the report to learn more. 

  • Meat is a primary motivating factor for new and experienced hunters alike. 
  • Mentorship matters.
  • Public land access is a critical resource—particularly for new hunters. 
  • Technology (hunting-specific apps, YouTube, podcasts, etc. … ) helps bridge the experience gap, and video content dominates.
Christian Fichtel

Christian Fichtel

Raised in North Carolina’s Appalachian Mountains, Christian Fichtel now resides in rural Montana. He is a father, writer, hunter, and fly fisherman.