CHAMPAIGN, Ill. – Guns, gear, gas for the truck, drinks for the cooler, and the faithful dog: such recreational expenses for a day of duck or goose hunting in Illinois add up to a big boost to the local economy, according to Craig Miller, human dimensions scientist at the University of Illinois’ Prairie Research Institute.
Before the start of the 2012-2013 hunting season, Miller and his team surveyed 5,000 waterfowl stamp buyers in Illinois to track typical expenditures of hunters for a big-picture view of the economic impact of a single hunting trip. The survey divided the direct expenses into three categories: transportation, food and beverages, and other shopping, services and entertainment.
Expenditures provided by hunters were analyzed using IMPLAN, an economics assessment modeling program used by the U.S. Forest Service and others to determine economic outputs.
Results from 1,882 hunters revealed that trip expenditures totaled $37.5 million, and durable goods expenditures, including clothing, decoys, guns, dogs, boats, and other costs, totaled $105 million. The total direct costs were $143 million.
“Adding the total direct and indirect costs equaled $261 million,” Miller said. “This impact is huge, and it’s the rural, local economies that benefit from this recreation market. Every dollar that waterfowl hunters spend generates $1.86 for the local economy. ”
A further breakdown of the survey showed that for each bird harvested in Illinois, $453 is generated for the economy. The sport also generates 2,556 jobs and contributed $20.5 million in state and local taxes.
Consequently, any policy or regulation changes such as a change in the length of the hunting season could have a significant impact on these rural economies.
“It is important to keep in mind that this is one recreation activity for one season. When we consider economic contributions across other hunting activities for multiple years, we begin to see the positive economic force that hunting has to our local, rural economies,” Miller said.