Hunting in America: An Economic Force for Conservation

Authors: Daniel J. Decker, Richard C. Stedman, Lincoln R. Larson, and William F. Siemer


The document discusses the economic and conservation impact of hunting in the United States, highlighting the financial contribution of hunters towards wildlife management and habitat protection.

Additionally, it explores the role of hunting in rural economies and the importance of engaging future generations in hunting activities.

Economic Impact Of Hunting

The hunting community is essential in funding conservation efforts in the US. Through the purchase of hunting licenses, permits, and taxes on hunting equipment, hunters contribute nearly $1.4 billion annually to wildlife conservation. This funding supports the management of wildlife populations, habitat restoration, and other conservation initiatives.

The Pittman-Robertson Act, enacted in 1937, is a critical piece of legislation establishing an excise tax on firearms and ammunition, directing funds toward wildlife restoration projects.

Tax Revenues

Hunting activities generate substantial tax revenues at both the federal and state levels. The study estimates that hunters contribute approximately $5.9 billion annually in federal and state tax revenues. These funds support various programs and initiatives, including wildlife conservation, public land management, and infrastructure projects.

Job Creation and Economic Output

The hunting industry supports over 680,000 jobs in various sectors, including manufacturing, retail, hospitality, and wildlife management. These jobs often extend beyond hunting seasons, providing a stable source of income and employment for many communities. The total economic output generated by hunting activities is estimated to be around $85 billion annually.

Rural Communities

The economic impact of hunting is particularly vital for rural communities, where it can be a significant source of income and employment. In addition, hunting tourism can lead to increased demand for lodging, dining, and guiding services in many rural areas, stimulating local businesses and economies. Moreover, the revenue generated from hunting leases and permits can be crucial for the financial stability of private landowners and local conservation organizations.

Hunting as a Management Tool

Hunting is an effective tool for managing wildlife populations and maintaining ecosystem balance. Wildlife agencies can control overpopulation, prevent habitat degradation, and minimize human-wildlife conflicts by regulating the number of animals harvested. Additionally, hunting helps manage the spread of diseases among wildlife populations and reduces the risk of transmission to domestic animals and humans.

Social and Cultural Benefits

Hunting has deep cultural roots in American society and provides social benefits for individuals and communities. Participation in hunting activities can foster a strong connection to nature, promote responsible wildlife management, and encourage the appreciation of natural resources. Moreover, hunting can build camaraderie and strengthen social bonds among family members and friends.

Engaging Future Generations

To ensure the continued success of hunting as an economic and conservation force, it is crucial to engage younger generations in hunting activities. Education, mentorship, and youth-oriented programs are essential to instill an appreciation for hunting and its role in conservation.

The next generation can carry on the tradition and support wildlife management and habitat preservation by fostering a connection to nature and promoting responsible hunting practices.


Hunting in America is a significant contributor to the economy and conservation efforts. The financial contributions from hunters support thousands of jobs, generate tax revenues, and fund critical wildlife management and habitat protection initiatives.

Hunting also serves as an essential tool for managing wildlife populations, maintaining ecosystems, and providing social and cultural benefits. In addition, engaging future generations in hunting activities will ensure the tradition endures and continues to support economic and conservation goals.