Hunting, while no longer a practical necessity, remains a popular pastime in the United States – and one that has drawn rising public interest in recent years. According to the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, there were over 15.9 million licensed hunters in the U.S. in 2021, nearly 800,000 more than there were in 2018.
While hunting is a way of life for many Americans in all 50 states, in some parts of the country, it is far more popular than others.
In Alabama, 504,600 paid hunting licenses were issued in 2021. Adjusting for population, this comes out to 10.0 for every 100 people, the 13th most among states.
Explanations for hunting’s popularity in certain parts of the country vary. Hunting culture, simplicity of hunting laws, the size of available game, or the variety and abundance of animal species can all play a role. Many of the states with the most hunters per capita have access to public land open to sports men and women. According to the Protected Areas Database program of the U.S. Geological Survey, 5.9% of land area in Alabama is publicly protected, the seventh lowest share among states.
All data on the number of licensed hunters is from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Population data used to adjust hunting license apportionments per capita came from the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2021 American Community Survey.
RankStatePaid hunting licenses issued in 2021 per 100 residentsPaid hunting licenses issued in 2021Publicly protected state land (%)1Wyoming23.5136,20554.232South Dakota23.0206,31616.933Montana20.9231,33937.604North Dakota19.4150,72421.655Idaho15.9301,99467.976Maine15.1207,84918.127West Virginia14.2253,95512.058Alaska13.498,20256.239Oklahoma12.5499,18211.7010Wisconsin11.4669,81314.6711Arkansas10.7323,47413.6112Tennessee10.4728,75910.1813Alabama10.0504,6005.8614Vermont10.064,34316.4615Minnesota9.6550,66318.8716Mississippi9.6283,0219.8217Louisiana9.6442,67810.1018Nebraska9.4185,0342.3619Kansas8.7255,1431.8920Missouri8.3509,9637.5521Utah8.0268,07571.9522Oregon7.8331,47556.8023Pennsylvania7.4953,90318.7024Kentucky7.1321,3477.7425Georgia7.1769,1059.8726Iowa6.9220,5763.0227New Mexico6.6140,68547.6028Michigan6.6660,93315.2929Colorado6.4370,73644.7430North Carolina6.2654,25110.7031Arizona4.8349,55455.0932New Hampshire4.460,62924.9133South Carolina4.2219,2229.3834Indiana4.0273,4234.6835Texas4.01,170,3164.1036Nevada3.4106,86183.2237Ohio3.1360,4216.0138Virginia2.9d>253,65015.9739New York2.8560,34615.3040Washington2.4185,14738.2841Illinois2.3289,9224.3142Maryland1.9116,42214.1143Delaware1.716,72814.5544Florida1.0217,11327.0445Connecticut0.930,80715.7946Massachusetts0.959,65219.4447Hawaii0.811,27040.5248New Jersey0.871,70723.6149Rhode Island0.77,98510.8950California0.7278,21055.86