Whitetails By the Numbers: A Snapshot of Our Sport

As some of you know, I attended the inaugural QDMA Whitetail Summit early this month at Big Cedar Lodge outside Branson, Missouri. I listened to an all-star lineup of speakers, who presented a dizzying amount of information about deer. To be honest, I'm still digesting it all.

In the meantime, while going through my notes, I jotted down a bunch of facts and figures that jumped out at me. Compiled from different lectures spread across three days of meetings, some of these numbers are positive, some are just puzzling, and several are downright troubling. Together, they reveal an interesting snapshot of the state of whitetail hunting today. Here they are:

13.7 million: Number of active hunters in the U.S.

10.96 million: Number of above hunters who identify whitetail deer as their primary interest

87 billion: Economic impact, in dollars, of deer hunters in this country each year

1,700: Average dollar amount spent by each deer hunter per year to enjoy his pastime

680,000: Number of jobs created by the whitetail hunting industry

38 billion: Dollars worth of retail sales generated annually by deer hunters

11.6 billion: Excise tax dollars generated by the above deer hunting sales

8 million: Acres of deer habitat lost between the years 1973 and 2000

8: Percentage of infected adult bucks in Wisconsin's core CWD area in 2002 (year of discovery)

25: Percentage of same in 2012

10,000: Approximate number of active deer breeders in U.S.

50: Percentage of captive deer in U.S. that live in two states: Texas and Pennsylvania

98: Percentage of U.S. deer shooting preserves that are located in two states: Michigan and Wisconsin

671: Number of deer that escaped captive deer facilities in 2003