What do hunters and anglers have in common with Mark Twain? The reports of their respective deaths have been greatly exaggerated. OK, so obviously Twain really is dead now, but America’s sportsmen (and women), long bemoaned as a dying demographic, are not only still here and kicking, their numbers are on the rise.

From this Reuters story:
Nearly 38 percent of Americans hunted, fished or watched wildlife last year, reversing decades of decline in outdoor recreation, the Interior Department said on Wednesday. A 2011 survey shows that the number of U.S. hunters had gone up 9 percent in five years and anglers were up 11 percent, the department said in a statement. “This is great news since hunters and anglers have long been the driving force behind conservation efforts in America,” Interior Secretary Ken Salazar said in a conference call with reporters.

According to the story, after nearly 30 years of decline, the latest survey (conducted every five years) revealed that in 2011, 13.7 million people–6 percent of the population–went hunting. Some of the factors credited for the increase include efforts by the federal government and conservation groups to get people outside.

What do you think is contributing to the increasing popularity of hunting and fishing? The economy? The locavore/slow food movement? Television?