Special Report

How Many Hunters North Dakota Has, and How It Compares to Other States

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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 North Dakota, 150,724 paid hunting licenses were issued in 2021. Adjusting for population, this comes out to 19.4 for every 100 people, the fourth 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, 21.7% of land area in North Dakota is publicly protected, the 17th highest 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.

 

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Rank State Paid hunting licenses issued in 2021 per 100 residents Paid hunting licenses issued in 2021 Publicly protected state land (%)
1 Wyoming 23.5 136,205 54.23
2 South Dakota 23.0 206,316 16.93
3 Montana 20.9 231,339 37.60
4 North Dakota 19.4 150,724 21.65
5 Idaho 15.9 301,994 67.97
6 Maine 15.1 207,849 18.12
7 West Virginia 14.2 253,955 12.05
8 Alaska 13.4 98,202 56.23
9 Oklahoma 12.5 499,182 11.70
10 Wisconsin 11.4 669,813 14.67
11 Arkansas 10.7 323,474 13.61
12 Tennessee 10.4 728,759 10.18
13 Alabama 10.0 504,600 5.86
14 Vermont 10.0 64,343 16.46
15 Minnesota 9.6 550,663 18.87
16 Mississippi 9.6 283,021 9.82
17 Louisiana 9.6 442,678 10.10
18 Nebraska 9.4 185,034 2.36
19 Kansas 8.7 255,143 1.89
20 Missouri 8.3 509,963 7.55
21 Utah 8.0 268,075 71.95
22 Oregon 7.8 331,475 56.80
23 Pennsylvania 7.4 953,903 18.70
24 Kentucky 7.1 321,347 7.74
25 Georgia 7.1 769,105 9.87
26 Iowa 6.9 220,576 3.02
27 New Mexico 6.6 140,685 47.60
28 Michigan 6.6 660,933 15.29
29 Colorado 6.4 370,736 44.74
30 North Carolina 6.2 654,251 10.70
31 Arizona 4.8 349,554 55.09
32 New Hampshire 4.4 60,629 24.91
33 South Carolina 4.2 219,222 9.38
34 Indiana 4.0 273,423 4.68
35 Texas 4.0 1,170,316 4.10
36 Nevada 3.4 106,861 83.22
37 Ohio 3.1 360,421 6.01
38 Virginia 2.9 d>253,650 15.97
39 New York 2.8 560,346 15.30
40 Washington 2.4 185,147 38.28
41 Illinois 2.3 289,922 4.31
42 Maryland 1.9 116,422 14.11
43 Delaware 1.7 16,728 14.55
44 Florida 1.0 217,113 27.04
45 Connecticut 0.9 30,807 15.79
46 Massachusetts 0.9 59,652 19.44
47 Hawaii 0.8 11,270 40.52
48 New Jersey 0.8 71,707 23.61
49 Rhode Island 0.7 7,985 10.89
50 California 0.7 278,210 55.86

 

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