This may come as news to non-hunters, but there’s a whole lot more we get out of a hunt than a trophy. In fact, a recent study from the NSSF shows that American hunters value the meat more than anything in 2017, the trophy – which scored only 1% in importance – is just icing on the cake. Hunting for the fun of it, spending time with family and friends, and being close to nature even outweighed getting a trophy.

The trophy is just an added bonus to the hunt itself. Hunting is about appreciating nature, forging bonds and feeding your loved ones. It’s refreshing to see some numbers that actually support the real reasons we do it.

Results from a new scientific survey show that American hunters most often name the meat as their most important reason for hunting, and that the percentage of hunters who hunt mainly for the meat continues to grow. Responsive Management, which has tracked hunting participation for almost three decades, recently released the latest results of a survey question put to U.S. hunters since 2008.

Asked to choose their single, most important reason for hunting from a list that included for a trophy, to be close to nature, to be with family and friends, for the sport or recreation, or for the meat, about two in five hunters nationwide selected the latter reason—by far the most popular answer. (While research shows that hunters hunt for numerous reasons, this question was designed to identify their top reason.)

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