American Hunters Spend Over $26 Billion Annually
- June 12, 2018
- By Todd Whitesel
Hunting is a time-honored pastime and outdoor tradition enjoyed by many U.S. citizens. In 2016, 11.5 million Americans 16 years and older went hunting.
These sports persons took 147 million trips and hunted 184 million days. And they spent $26.2 billion on hunting-related expenses, based on the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service's 2016 National Survey of Fishing, Hunting, and Wildlife-Associated Recreation.
Hunters spent $13.1billion overall on equipment, $9.2 billion on trip-related expenses and $4.2 billion on other hunting-related expenses, such as land leasing, memberships and licenses. Eleven percent of all these hunting-related expenses- $2.9 billion – went to land leasing and ownership.
Transportation accounted for $3.2 billion, 35%, of all trip-related expenditures, while food and lodging was a close second at $3.1 billion, or 34%. Hunters spent some $2.9 billion on other trip costs, such as equipment rental and guide fees. Trip-related expenditures per hunter averaged $803, for all hunting during 2016. That equates to a daily average of $50.
Participants spent more than $7.4 billion on hunting equipment such as rifles, sights and ammunition. Expenditures for auxiliary gear, such as binoculars and camping equipment, were $2.0 billion. Hunters also spent $3.4 billion on special equipment, such as ATVs and campers.
Here's a breakdown of total hunting equipment expenditures by category:
- $1.6 billion – bows, arrows and archery equipment
- $1.4 billion - ammunition
- $1.2 billion – rifles
- $1.1 billion – pistols and handguns
- $553 million – shotguns
- $449 million – hunting dogs and associated costs
- $340 million – other
- $229 million – hand-loading equipment
- $220 million – telescopic sights
- $204 million – decoys and game calls
- $110 million – muzzleloaders and primitive firearms
Big game hunting enjoyed the greatest popularity among sports persons. More than 9 million hunters sought deer, elk and other big game species. Some 3.5 million hunters pursued rabbits, squirrels and other small game, while 2.4 million hunters took to the woods and waters after migratory birds. Around 1.3 million hunted other animals, such as feral pigs.
It's no surprise, then, that hunters spent more on big game hunting gear than all other types of hunting. The following numbers detail equipment expenditures by the type of game pursued:
- $14.9 billion – big game hunting
- $6.5 billion – nonspecific
- $1.7 billion – small game hunting
- $2.3 billion – migratory bird hunting
- $0.8 billion – hunting other animals
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