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New Research Shows Hunting with AR-15s on the Rise



With firearm hunting season in full swing, millions of hunters will be hitting the woods in search of all types of game. As they head afield, hunters will be carrying a plethora of tools, gadgets and gear with them. No matter if they are pursuing squirrels, predators, deer or bear, one item hunters will be holding close will be their trusted firearm.

New research from Outdoor Stewards of Conservation Foundation (OSCF) sheds light on what type of firearms hunters prefer, and provides detailed insights into hunting with AR-Platform rifles. The data compares 2023 polling to 2014 polling, nine years ago, and the results are quite interesting. Key findings include:

Most important reasons for hunting last season:

In 2023, the greatest number of respondents (42%) said that their most important reason to hunt was “for meat.” This is up significantly from 2014, when that figure was 25% and handily beaten out by “for recreation” at 32%.

Percentage of hunters that have used an AR-Platform rifle to hunt with:

Of course, the surveyors took some time to adequately define an AR-Platform rifle before asking the question. In 2023, 41% of hunters answered “yes,” which is up significantly from 2014 (27%).

Type of game, (e.g., large/small) that hunters have used an AR-Platform to hunt:

Of those who hunt with AR-15s, a full 81% are currently doing so in pursuit of large game, like deer and elk. Thirty-one percent either also hunt small game, or only hunt small game with their MSR.

Main reasons they use AR-Platform rifles for hunting:

The far-and-away most common answer for using a modern sporting rifle to hunt is “ease of use,” at 36%; “accuracy” came in second at 31%. But that question was asked of experienced hunters who already use AR-15s to hunt. What about the brand-newbies or wish-they-weres?

Now here’s the headline news from this survey:

Just over half of hunters who have never used an AR-Platform rifle to hunt before (51%) indicate being very or somewhat likely to hunt with an AR-platform / modern sporting rifle, if legally allowed to do so in their state.

There’s more to read, and you can find it here: .

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