Elk NetworkSurvey: Americans Spent $384 Billion on Hunting, Other Outdoor Pursuits in 2022

General | October 13, 2023

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) and the Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies released the results of the 2022 National Survey of Fishing, Hunting and Wildlife-Associated Recreation. It shows Americans over the age of 16 who hunted and fished contributed $145 billion to the U.S. economy while wildlife watching contributed another $250 billion.

Specific to hunting, the survey found 14.4 million Americans took part, spent 241 million days afield and had expenditures of $45.2 billion. Big game hunting was most popular with 11.5 million hunters pursuing deer and elk over 135 million days. They took 92 million trips and spent an average of 12 days hunting.

Of the $45.2 billion spent by hunters in 2022, 27 percent, $12.3 billion, was spent on trip-related expenses. Equipment expenditures for hunting totaled $19.6 billion in 2022, 43 percent of all hunting expenses. Hunting equipment, such as rifles, telescopic sights and ammunition, totaled $7.9 billion, or 40 percent of all equipment costs. Expenditures for auxiliary equipment, including camping equipment, binoculars and special hunting clothing, accounted for $3.9 billion or 20 percent of all equipment expenses. Special equipment, such as campers or all-terrain vehicles, amounted to $7.7 billion or 40 percent of all equipment expenditures. Other expenditures such as licenses and land leasing and owning accounted for 29 percent of all hunting expenditures, at $13.3 billion.

“Money exchanged for goods and services means jobs throughout the economy,” said Martha Williams, USFWS director. “Moreover, the market for firearms, ammunition, archery gear and fishing tackle essentially creates a currency for conservation. Excise taxes paid by manufacturers of these goods going back 86 years with the passage of Federal Aid in Wildlife Restoration Act (Pittman-Robertson Act), are critical to funding conservation.”

The survey is conducted every five years. However, those conducting the latest survey used different methodology than past years meaning the 2022 results should not be directly compared to past survey results.

By way of information, the 2016 survey found 11.5 million people 16 years and older hunted compared to 13.7 million who hunted in 2011.

Click here to read the 2022 survey results.

(Photo credit: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service)