Business Blog

Impact of Hunting on the U.S. Economy


If you had to pick one thing, and only one thing, that all hunters have in common, what would it be? Because the hunting community comprises participants of all ages and from many different social backgrounds, and because their motivations to hunt can vary widely, this might seem like an impossible challenge. But don’t overthink it. Because the answer is very simple: They all spend money!


If you work in the outdoor industry, you’re already aware of the correlation between hunter spending on your company’s goods and services and the outlook for your continued employment. But you might not be aware of the incredibly huge impact that hunters have on the U.S. economy. How huge? Hunter spending generates more than $185 million per day!


That’s the conclusion in a recently released report, the 2018 edition of Hunting in America: An Economic Force for Conservation, produced for the National Shooting Sports Foundation.* The report draws on information from multiple sources* to provide an extremely granular look at the categories in which hunters spend, as well as tying those expenditures to the types of game hunted.


We’ll break down some of the fascinating findings in multiple posts here at the Realtree Business Blog. To kick things off, let’s put all this spending in perspective:


  • In 2016, hunters spent $27.1 billion to enjoy their sport. This includes $7.1 billion on equipment and $3.2 billion on travel.


  • If the hunting industry were a single company, it would rank 104 on the Fortune 500 List (as of 2016).


  • The $5.3 billion in federal taxes collected from hunting purchases could have provided social security benefits to nearly 325,000 retired workers in 2016 (source: Center on Budget Policy and Priorities).


  • Hunter spending supports 525,000 jobs to the tune of $21.5 billion in salaries and wages.


  • Spending by hunters generates $3.4 billion in state and local taxes, which could pay the salaries of 48,300 registered nurses or 53,700 police officers (source: Bureau of Labor Statistics).


See the related infographic for a further breakdown of the most impactful spending categories. Then, check back soon when we break down the impact of spending on deer, migratory bird, and upland hunting.

Hunter expenditures 2018 - Hunting Market Share

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