Author: Cassie Gasaway
The ATA worked to determine an accurate number of licensed bowhunting participants in America and is happy to report the nation had 3.7 million bowhunters in the 2021-22 season. This is the first time ATA or any other entity has gathered a complete set of state bowhunter estimates.
In addition, the ATA compiled information from state wildlife agencies, the 2023 NDA Deer Report, the 2022 NWTF Spring Hunt Guide and other sources to provide a comprehensive outlook at individual state hunting participation numbers and harvest data.
States use the information to track trends and set management policies, individuals use it to plan their hunts, and ATA members use it to help them make smart decisions regarding product and class offerings.
Reliable, consistent data is challenging to obtain because each state collects different information and has rules regarding who needs to purchase licenses and which ones they must possess to hunt legally. Surveys and collection agencies also have caveats on how questions are worded or interpreted. It also takes time to compile the information after collection, which dates the data quickly. For these reasons, people must carefully review the data when making comparisons and marketing plans. The article “ATA Works Toward Sharing Credible Hunting Participation Data” explains the inconsistencies and complications surrounding data collection.
Regardless, ATA members can rest assured the bowhunting participation number listed for each state is the most reliable info to date. Taken together, the data reveal a big picture of nationwide constituents using archery equipment.
Check out the Data Dashboard for stats on bowhunting, hunting and fishing. Photo Credit: ASA
If you’re looking for up-to-date, timely data, use the Data Dashboard, created through a partnership with the ATA, American Sportfishing Association, state fish and wildlife agencies and others. The dashboard updates frequently and displays year-to-date information, but just over 20 states have the software to participate.
Let’s review state-by-state harvest statistics from the 2021-22 season and additional links to more hunting data. Some numbers were rounded to the nearest hundred.
Of the 237,878 deer hunters in the state, 41% or 97,580 people used a bow or crossbow to shoot 21% of the total 301,122 deer harvest. Turkey hunters harvested an estimated 24,995 birds. Deer and turkey hunters must record their harvests immediately, either online, by phone or through the mobile app.
Alaska has 11,175 bowhunters. The most sought-after species in Alaska is moose; hunters took 2,233 of them, 2,132 of which were male. Alaskan hunters harvested 17,678 Sitka black-tailed deer, 13,428 of which were male; and 5,048 caribou, 2,605 of which were male.
Sixty-two percent or 26,631 of the 42,860 deer hunters in the Copper State use a bow or crossbow. The statewide total antlered deer harvest was 14,312, and the antlerless harvest was 104, for a total of 14,416. The state estimated 4,555 turkey hunters harvested 884 birds for a 19% average hunt success rate. Hunters also harvested 114 bighorn sheep, 309 black bears, and 8,022 elk, 1,710 of which were harvested using archery equipment.
The state estimates over 350,000 hunters in Arkansas, and over 300,000 of them deer hunt. Arkansas has 128,810 bowhunters. Reports found 16% of the total number of deer harvested were shot with a bow or crossbow. Arkansas turkey hunters took 7,013 birds. The state’s online and telephone checking system allows daily updated deer harvest numbers so constituents can view how the seasons progress.
California has 8,646 bowhunters. Deer hunters reported harvesting 23,547 deer, and the state estimates 31,986 deer were taken because hunters in landowner or private lands management programs aren’t require to report. Hunters also harvested 159 elk, 109 pronghorns and 20,795 turkeys.
Out of the 91,175 statewide deer hunters, only 11,963 people (13%) used archery equipment, putting Colorado in the bottom two states for the percentage of people who hunt with a bow or crossbow. The total deer harvest number exceeded 40,500, with 31,160 being male. Over 215,305 elk hunters took to the woods and harvested 35,230 elk statewide; 19,981 were male. Archery-specific elk harvests totaled 5,957. Hunters harvested about 5,200 turkeys in the state.
Connecticut is one of two states where the number of deer harvested with archery equipment exceeded 50% of the total harvest. The state just crossed the threshold at 51%. In total, hunters harvested 5,747 antlered deer and 3,052 antlerless deer. The state had 24,374 deer hunters, and 66% used a bow or crossbow. Turkey hunters harvested 1,247 birds.
There are 16,132 total hunters in Delaware, and 98% (15,771) deer hunt. Because 67% of the deer hunters in the state use a bow or crossbow, the state made the top five list for the percentage of stick and string users. However, only 20% of the total deer harvest was killed with archery equipment. Delaware deer hunters took 8,492 antlerless deer and 6,891 antlered bucks. The turkey harvest in 2021 was 612 birds.
In Florida, 59% (63,407) of the total deer hunters (106,926) use a bow or crossbow, accounting for 22% of the deer harvest. The state’s total hunter count was 351,259. In all, hunters harvested 74,071 deer, 52,254 of which were antlered bucks. The state estimated hunters harvested 13,007 turkeys.
Over 300,000 Georgians hunt, and 209,742 deer hunt. Forty percent of deer hunters use a bow or crossbow. Hunters harvested 160,398 antlerless deer, 97,056 antlered bucks and 18,192 turkeys. About 15% of the total deer harvest was taken with archery equipment.
The state has 12,649 license holders, and about 1,384 of them bowhunt. Hunters in the state pursue axis deer and mouflon sheep.
Idaho has approximately 33,997 bowhunters. An estimated 54,223 white-tailed deer hunters took over 21,418 deer. Of the total deer harvest, only 6% were killed using a bow or crossbow, the country’s lowest percentage of archery-harvested deer per state. Just over 89,000 elk hunters killed 20,396 elk in 2021 for a 22.9% success rate. The state also had 79,825 mule deer hunters, taking 26,086 mule deer — 21,802 antlered and 4,284 antlerless.
Illinois has 291,774 total hunters. Of the 234,926 deer hunters in the state, 74% or 173,710 people use a bow or crossbow, putting the state in second place behind Ohio (75%) for the highest percentage of bowhunters per state. The antlered deer harvest was 69,315 and the antlerless deer harvest was 77,107. About 45% of those harvested were taken with a bow or crossbow. Illinois turkey hunters harvested 13,613 birds.
The state has 209,189 deer hunters, and 59,334 of them bowhunt. Deer hunters harvested 112,482 deer, 53,752 of which were antlered bucks. Turkey hunters in the Hoosier State harvested 12,320 birds.
Iowa is home to 218,483 hunters. Of the 166,153 who deer hunt, 35% (57,587) use a bow or crossbow. Bowhunters harvested 24% of the state’s total 102,810 deer harvest. In the spring turkey hunting season, Iowa hunters reported killing 11,679 birds.
Kansas has 279,410 hunters, including 106,544 deer hunters. Of the deer hunters, 58,334 or 55% use a bow or crossbow during deer season. The 106,544 total deer hunters harvested 45,215 antlered bucks and 38,792 antlerless deer. Forty-seven percent of the total deer harvest was taken with archery equipment. The state estimated turkey hunters harvested 16,826 birds.
Of the 387,000 total hunters in Kentucky, 324,604 deer hunt, and 19% use a bow or crossbow. Kentucky deer hunters harvested 132,328 deer, 68,035 of which were antlered bucks, and 21% of the deer harvest was taken using archery equipment. The state issued 594 elk permits. Hunters harvested over 150 bulls and about 90 antlerless elk. Nearly 60 elk were taken with archery equipment. The state reports having the biggest elk herd east of the Mississippi River. Over 30,500 turkeys were harvested, as well.
The state has 274,906 total hunters, including 208,200 deer hunters. About 64,800 deer hunters use a bow or crossbow, which is 31% of the total. Hunters harvested 128,370 antlered bucks and 105,030 antlerless deer. Around 5,500 turkeys were harvested in 2021.
About 15,400 Mainers hunted deer with a bow or crossbow, harvesting 9% of the total deer harvest, which was 38,947 antlered and antlerless deer. The state found 3,779 bears were harvested, 2,063 of which were male, and hunters harvested 2,608 moose. The Maine spring turkey harvest reached 5,891.
Maryland has 120,350 total hunters, including 65,000 deer hunters. Of the deer hunters, 56% or 36,400 use a bow or crossbow. Hunters took 27,947 antlered bucks and 39,498 antlerless deer. The bowhunters in the state harvested 35% of the total deer harvest. Turkey hunters in the Old Line State harvested 3,910 birds.
Here, 48% of the total deer harvest was taken with archery equipment, which makes sense given that 66% of all deer hunters in the state bowhunt, placing Massachusetts in the top five states with the highest percentage of bowhunters. Of the 12,403 deer harvested, 8,042 were antlered bucks. The state estimated hunters harvested around 3,000 turkeys.
Michigan was in the top five states for the highest number of deer hunters (537,014) and the highest number of deer hunters per square mile (9.5), placing fifth for both. About 304,278 deer hunters bowhunt, and 32% of the deer harvest was taken with a bow and arrow.
Minnesotans harvested 100,028 antlered bucks and 84,670 antlerless deer. Bow and crossbow users took 13% of the total harvest. The state has 465,414 deer hunters, and 104,711 of them use archery equipment. Turkey hunters in Minnesota had a 21% success rate and harvested 12,070 birds. The state had 3,575 black bear permits available, and bear hunters harvested 2,971 bears.
Mississippi has 214,703 total hunters, and 91% of them or 195,380 hunt deer. Forty percent of the deer hunters (78,254) use a bow or crossbow, and 16% of the total deer harvest was taken with archery equipment. The state estimated the 2021 spring harvest at 22,000 turkeys.
About 557,409 Missourians hunt. Forty-three percent or 202,726 of the total number of deer hunters (475,272) use a bow or crossbow to hunt deer. The statewide deer harvest totaled 295,143 deer, 143,815 of which were antlered bucks. Turkey hunters in Missouri harvested 34,595 birds. Over 6,330 hunters applied for 400 black bear permits for the state’s first bear hunting season. The state put a 40-bear maximum harvest on the species, and hunters took 12 bears.
Montana has 58,304 bowhunters. Only 7% of the total deer harvest was taken with a bow or crossbow, tying Wyoming and Colorado for the lowest percentage of archery harvests per state. Deer hunters harvested 44,714 total deer, 27,941 of which were antlered bucks. The state issued 38,718 turkey hunting licenses and believed hunters harvested about 7,314 birds for an 18% success rate. Montana residents also took 256 wolves, and nonresidents harvested 17. Of the 273 wolves harvested, 125 were trapped and 148 were hunted, four of which were taken with archery equipment.
Nebraska has 99,145 deer hunters, including the 32,000 people who hunt with a bow or crossbow. The state deer harvest was 44,802, and 27,075 of those were antlered bucks. The spring turkey harvest totaled 20,782 birds. The state approved two bighorn sheep permits in 2021, and each hunter was successful.
Of all 50 states, Nevada averaged the fewest deer hunters per square mile (0.1), but 25% of its deer hunters, about 3,121 of 12,624 total, used a bow or crossbow. The state surveyed turkey hunters after the spring season and found 63 birds were killed out of the 162 issued tags, but only 116 people hunted. Hunters also took 2,243 antelope, 14 black bears, 393 bighorn sheep, 1,909 elk and 6,151 mule deer.
The state has 60,323 hunters and 94% deer hunt, putting the state at 6.3 deer hunters per square mile. About 22,616 deer hunters use a bow or crossbow. The archery hunters took 28% (3,514) of the total deer harvest (12,551). New Hampshire turkey hunters harvested 5,399 birds in spring and 584 birds in fall for 5,983 total. The state also found hunters harvested 892 black bears and 30 moose.
New Jersey is home to 88,707 hunters, 77,175 of whom hunt deer, and 59% use a bow or crossbow. Of the state’s total deer harvest, 64% were harvested with a bow or crossbow, making New Jersey the state with the highest percentage of deer taken with archery equipment. Only one other state, Connecticut, crossed the 50% mark. Turkey hunters in the state bagged 2,327 birds.
The state has 31,966 deer hunters, and 19,515 of them bowhunt. Deer hunters harvested 8,689 antlered whitetail bucks and 138 antlerless deer. Turkey hunters reported harvesting 2,934 birds. Hunters also harvested an estimated 4,937 pronghorns, 622 javelinas, 15,518 elk and 580 black bears.
New York had the second-highest number of deer hunters per square mile at 12, after Pennsylvania, which had 14.4. Of the 565,629 hunters, 100% hunted deer, but only 43% used a bow or crossbow, accounting for 28% (59,155) of the total harvest (211,269). Hunters harvested over 16,900 turkeys.
North Carolina deer hunters harvested 79,181 antlerless deer and 89,246 antlered bucks. The state has 241,619 deer hunters, about five hunters per square mile. The state is home to 60,888 bowhunters. Hunters harvested 3,659 black bears; 3% were taken with a bow, and 1% with a crossbow. The total number of turkeys harvested in spring was 21,974.
The state has about 93,000 deer hunters, with 32% or 29,765 using a bow or crossbow. The total deer harvest was 32,417, of which 19,375 were antlered bucks. Archery hunters in the state harvested 19% of the total deer harvest. Turkey hunters harvested 2,268 birds. The state also issued 470 moose licenses, and 448 of the hunters harvested 405 animals. Of the five bighorn sheep licenses available, four hunters were successful. North Dakota also issued 532 elk licenses, and 301 of the 462 people who hunted were successful.
About 350,749 people hunt in Ohio. The state has 230,596 deer hunters and the nation’s highest percentage of bow and crossbow hunters at 75%, or 172,947 people. Forty-eight percent of Ohio’s deer harvest was taken with a bow or crossbow. Hunters in the Buckeye State harvested 14,546 turkeys.
Oklahoma is home to 568,011 hunters, including 366,547 deer hunters who harvested 48,321 antlerless deer and 69,308 antlered bucks. Thirty-two percent of the total deer hunters used a bow or crossbow. The archery hunters harvested 31% of the deer harvest. Oklahoma hunters harvested 5,846 turkeys statewide.
The state has 127,422 deer hunters, and 16% (19,855) use a bow or crossbow, making Oregon one of only six states in where less than 16% of deer hunters use archery equipment. Regardless, 10% (about 3,959) of the total deer harvest (39,588) was taken using a bow or crossbow.
With 646,000, Pennsylvania has the second-highest number of deer hunters in the nation and topped the charts for the most deer hunters per square mile (14.4). Over 331,000 hunters used a bow or crossbow, and archery kills accounted for 35% of the state’s total deer harvest, which was 376,810 (145,320 antlered bucks). Pennsylvania turkey hunters harvested over 28,087 birds.
Rhode Island has 7,559 hunters, and 70% of them (5,327) deer hunt. Of those who hunt deer, 44%, or 2,351 people, used archery equipment to take 39% of the total deer harvest. Turkey hunters hit a record harvest of 282 birds in 2021.
The Palmetto State has 185,000 total hunters, and 37,962 used a bow or crossbow to hunt deer. South Carolina deer hunters killed 182,880 deer; the turkey hunters killed 14,065 birds.
Of the 71,500 people who deer hunted in the state, 27,445 (38%) used a bow or crossbow. They took 17% (about 9,373) of the total deer harvest (55,141) with their archery equipment. The state sold 4,899 spring archery turkey licenses and projected that bowhunters killed 1,607 birds. The firearms turkey harvest exceeded 9,300. The state also projected bowhunters killed 97 elk and 710 antelope.
Tennessee deer hunters total 185,893, and 30% (55,870) use a bow or crossbow to hunt. Deer hunters killed 74,516 antlered bucks and 57,698 antlerless deer. The bowhunters in the state took 13% of the total deer harvest with their archery equipment. Tennessee hunters took an estimated 54,669 birds.
Texas has 1,152,959 total hunters and the country’s highest number of deer hunters per state at 756,171. Twenty-two percent of the deer hunters use a bow or crossbow. The archery hunters killed 11% of the total deer harvest. The total deer harvest was 827,930, and 447,972 of them were antlered bucks. The 2021 spring turkey harvest reached 29,935 birds.
Utah is home to 70,630 deer hunters, 13,304 of which use a bow or crossbow. The bowhunters took 10% of the total deer harvest with their archery equipment. Over 114 bison were harvested, as well as 71 bighorn sheep and 110 mountain goats. Turkey hunters harvested 919 birds statewide.
The state has 81,793 deer hunters, and 37% hunt with a bow or crossbow. Hunters in the state harvested 9,133 antlered bucks and 6,725 antlerless deer. Of the total deer harvest, 28% were taken with archery equipment. Vermont hunters harvested over 6,170 turkeys.
Virginia has 185,427 hunters, all of whom deer hunt, but only 51% or 94,385 use a bow or crossbow when deer hunting. Fourteen percent of the state’s deer harvest was killed with archery equipment. Hunters in the Old Dominion State harvested 191,731 deer and 20,541 turkeys.
Of the 98,239 deer hunters in Washington, 15% or 14,262 use a bow or crossbow to hunt deer.
The state reported hunters killed 22,881 deer (3,157 of which were harvested with archery equipment), 4,318 elk (1,258 with archery equipment), 1,686 bears and 10,152 turkeys.
The state has 96,923 bowhunters. Hunters harvested 105,274 deer, 28% of which were killed with archery equipment. West Virginia turkey hunters harvested 10,828 birds. Meanwhile, hunters took 2,756 black bears during the combined 2021 archery and firearms season, 22% below the record 3,541 bears killed in 2020.
Wisconsin ranked third for the highest number of deer hunters (615,848) and the number of deer hunters per square mile (11.4) in all 50 states. The state has 307,450 bowhunters. Those bowhunters killed 32% of the total deer harvest. Bear hunters harvested 3,847 bears out of the 11,530 permits. Wisconsinites harvested 37,366 turkeys.
Wyoming has the lowest percentage of archery hunters in the nation at 7%. Only 4,063 out of 58,882 total deer hunters used a bow or crossbow. Hunters harvested 35,061 deer and 7% were taken with archery equipment, tying Montana and Colorado for the lowest percentage of deer harvested by a bow or crossbow.
For questions regarding general harvest data and participation numbers, please contact ATA’s Dan Forester at email@example.com or Josh Gold at firstname.lastname@example.org.