Archery’s popularity has grown tremendously thanks in part to bow-slinging characters in recent blockbusters The Hunger Games, Brave,  and Marvel’s The Avengers, as well as small-screen depictions like Arrow. But until recently, true archery interest hadn’t been officially measured. In early 2013, the Archery Trade Association commissioned the first nationwide archery survey, which showed that 18.9 million Americans age 18 and older participated in archery and/or bowhunting in 2012. Jay McAninch, ATA’s CEO, said the results are positive.

“Often, the number of archers and bowhunters in the U.S. is estimated by the number of bows, arrows and other equipment sold, and hunting licenses issued within a given year. The results of this survey provide an accurate assessment of where the archery industry is currently, and where it has room to grow… Clearly, 2012 gave archery a marketing boost unlike anything enjoyed by other sports. But it still wasn’t clear who was involved in archery and/or bowhunting until now. This survey has offered much-needed clarity for those of us who are working to reach archers and potential archers.”

Photo: Archery Trade Association

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Shannon Rikard is a freelance writer and photographer with a passion for conservation and wedding and portrait photography. The Archery Trade Association and National Wild Turkey Federation have published her work. A self-professed word geek, she enjoys Wheel of Fortune, crossword puzzles, and finding a dynamite synonym to illustrate any point. After starting her career in public relations with a national conservation organization, she ventured out on her own with Copper Door Studios.