Context. Recreational hunting has a long history in Australia, as in other parts of the world. However, the number, characteristics and motivations of Australian hunters have never been investigated in the same way as those in other countries where hunting occurs. Aims. In this report, we aimed to systematically survey Australian recreational hunters to determine their demographic characteristics, patterns of spending and motivations. Methods. Between September 2011 and June 2012, we encouraged hunters to participate in an anonymous online survey hosted by SurveyMonkey. We asked 53 questions about the hunters, their hunting patterns, expenditure on hunting and their motivations to hunt. Key results. In total, 7202 hunters responded to the survey. The respondents were overwhelmingly male and 67% were aged between 31 and 60 years. Almost 34% of respondents were from Victoria, 26.7% from New South Wales and 22.0% from Queensland. Average direct expenditure on hunting was A1835 per person per annum, whereas indirect expenditure was A2168. Over 99% of respondents said that they would be willing to participate in pest-control activities if they had the opportunity. Conclusions. There are likely to be at least 200000 and more likely 300000 recreational hunters in Australia and they spend in excess of A1 billion dollars annually on hunting. Almost all of these hunters are willing to participate in direct wildlife management activities, such as pest control. Implications. The Australian recreational hunting community is large, active and willing to spend large amounts of money on hunting. Their activities need to be understood and participants engaged by wildlife managers so as to obtain the best outcomes for wildlife management in Australia.