More women head outdoors

After drops in participation last decade, more women are now hitting the woods and waters of the United States, with the greatest gains in freshwater fishing, according to a new survey.

Southwick Associates, a Florida-based firm specializing in fish and wildlife economics and statistics, has revealed the latest data it has compiled about participation rates of men and women in the outdoors.

The survey finds that 26.8 percent of Americans who fished in 2011 were women, up from 25.3 percent women in 2006. Also, 10.9 percent of American hunters in 2001 were women, up from 9.6 percent five years earlier.

Overall, 9.3 million women identified themselves as hunters or anglers in 2011, with 7.8 million saying they were just anglers and 400,000 just hunters, according to the survey. About 1 million did both, according to Southwick.

Among women freshwater anglers, 23 percent were fly-fishers. That's a greater percentage than men, with just 20 percent of men freshwater anglers nationwide considering themselves fly-fishers.

Also, 84 percent of women considered the greatest reason for fishing as to spend time with friends and family, while just 71 percent of men agreed.

— Mark Freeman

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