Business Blog

Economic Impact of Migratory and Upland Bird Hunting


To help put the huge influence of hunter spending in perspective, we recently looked at the overall impact on the U.S. economy, and then followed up with a deer-hunting summary. For our final installment on this topic, let’s take a closer look at the often-unreported impact that migratory and upland bird hunters make on the economy.


The total impact of hunter spending on the U.S. economy in 2016 was $27.1 billion per year, according to the recently released report, the 2018 edition of Hunting in America: An Economic Force for Conservation* Of this total, migratory bird hunting (waterfowl, doves and woodcock) contributed approximately $4 billion to the nation’s GDP, while upland gamebird hunting (quail, grouse and pheasants) kicked in another $2.4 billion.


Together, those two sectors contributed $6.4 billion, or nearly 24% of the total. While this number doesn’t approach the $15.7 billion contributed by deer hunting, it’s still a significant number.


To further understand how migratory and upland bird hunting expenditures fit into the economy, here is some additional commentary from the report:


  • In 2016, migratory bird hunters spent $2.9 billion on goods and services. That’s more than the combined box office revenue for the top five movies that year. Additionally, upland bird hunters spent $1.8 billion on products and services directly related to their pursuits.
  • Waterfowlers supported 56,900 jobs that paid out over $2.4 billion in salaries and wages. These jobs contributed $590 million in federal tax revenues and $399 million in state and local taxes.
  • Upland bird hunting supported 38,200 jobs in 2016, generating $351.8 million in federal tax revenues and $220.9 million in state and local tax revenues.
  • Altogether, all categories of bird hunting accounted for 28,604,000 hunter days spent on the water and in the marshes, uplands and woods.
  • Migratory and upland bird hunters spent a combined $1.01 billion on hunting licenses, stamps, tags and additional permits.

migratory upland bird hunting expenditures in 2018

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*Hunting in America: An Economic Force for Conservation, was produced for the National Shooting Sports Foundation via Multistate Grant #F17AP00083 awarded by the Wildlife and Sport Fish Restoration Programs of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. 


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