Hunting and Fishing Numbers Rise - KALB-TV News Channel 5 & CBS 2

Hunting and Fishing Numbers Rise

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ALEXANDRIA, LA.- Are you a hunter or an angler? If so you're part of the nearly 40% of Americans who participated in wild-life related recreation last year....and that number is growing.

News Channel 5's Rachael Penton reports.

Louisiana....it's the state known as the sportsman's paradise.

And for good reason, says Paula Katz at Security Sporting Goods in Alexandria.

"I would say probably 80% of our customers are probably hunters or fishermen," says Katz.

And the number of people hunting and fishing is on the rise, according to a new survey by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service....bringing the number of hunters and anglers in the U.S. to almost 50 million.

For Security Sporting Goods, that means more business.

"It's starting to increase. Of course, it usually does the closer to hunting season that it gets but we have noticed a little bit of an increase this year which is nice," adds Katz.

As for here in CenLa, there are many theories why the numbers are on the rise, including the influence of pop culture and major sporting events being held close by.

"Kids are getting excited about it because of movies like the Hunger Games where archery is real big. We've had lots of events in the area like the Bassmasters Pro that was up in north Louisiana," says Katz.

There's also the availability of local wildlife refuges where hunters can practice their sport on a budget.

"It's more expensive to hunt on private property and the national wildlife refuge system is a whole lot less expensive because you buy a $15 permit and you can hunt all year on a refuge," says Central Louisiana Refuge's volunteer Larry Keith.

As well as easy access to the 600,000 acres of Kisatchie National Forest lands that welcomes hunters and anglers with open arms.

"We are very pro-hunting on Kisatchie National Forest because we know that hunters give a tremendous amount of money toward conservation," says Johnny Fryar of Kisatchie National Forest.

And as long as CenLa continues to offer outdoor sporting attractions like these....not only will the number of hunters and anglers continue to rise, but also CenLa's economy.

"We see tons of people who come here from South Carolina, Georgia, all these places. So not only do they come here to hunt, they come here to shop, eat...so it's always going to boost the economy when you can draw people from all over to take advantage of what your area has to offer," adds Katz.

Security Sporting Goods says that they've seen their biggest growth among kids and women interested in the sports.

According to the survey, the number of people in the U.S. that participated in hunting or fishing in 2011 was nearly 50 million.

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