Hunting, Fishing, Wildlife Watching Contributed $395 Billion to U.S. Economy in 2022

The National Survey is conducted every five years and provides definitive data on participation and spending on fishing, hunting, target shooting, and wildlife associated recreation.

by posted on October 16, 2023
Usfws Survey Lede

A press release from the Association of Fish & Wildlife Agencies announced the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service has released it final report on the 2022 National Survey of Fishing, Hunting and Wildlife-Associated Recreation. The survey shows that hunting and fishing contributed $145 billion to the US economy while wildlife watching contributed another $250 billion, 39 million people (15% of the U.S. population 16 years and older) participated in recreational fishing, 14 million people (5.5% of the U.S. population 16 years and older) participated in hunting, 148+ million people participated in wildlife watching, 47+ million people participated in target shooting, and 19+ million people participated in archery.

A logo with a deer and fish

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“The National Survey is conducted every five years and provides definitive data on participation and spending on fishing, hunting, target shooting, and wildlife associated recreation,” said Chuck Sykes, Director of the Alabama Division of Wildlife & Freshwater Fisheries and President of the Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies. “Outdoor recreation is one of our nation’s largest economic engines. It touches all American’s, from small rural towns to those living in bustling cities and continues to be a powerful force in our nation’s economy.”

The survey was implemented as a partnership between the Association of Fish & Wildlife Agencies, the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, and National Opinion Research Center (NORC) at the University of Chicago, a highly respected research and survey company.

In response to dramatic increases in the cost of the survey and heavy respondent burden, the 2022 National Survey was redesigned to 1) reduce respondent burden, 2) increase the accuracy, and 3) create a financially sustainable model for future surveys. While the 2022 results are not directly comparable to previous surveys due to the new methodologies used, they do point to continued strong participation by Americans in fishing, hunting and wildlife associated recreation.

“We asked for dramatic changes to the survey methodology to ensure it will remain affordable and viable.” said Curt Melcher, Director of the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife and Chair of AFWA’s National Survey Technical Workgroup. “NORC delivered on those changes and the 2022 survey represents a new model that will work for years to come.”

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