Elk NetworkHunting Is Conservation – The Economy of Wild Game

Hunting | September 30, 2021

Hunting not only generates critical funding for conservation and wildlife management but it also greatly boosts the economy.

National studies show hunters pump $55.4 billion into the economy each year, plus recreational shooters and anglers join hunters to jointly spend nearly $94 billion annually.

And hunting itself supports more than 854,000 jobs – from game wardens, waitresses,  and butchers to taxidermists, motel clerks and biologists.

It may be difficult to apply a dollar figure that shows the exact value of say, one pound of game meat and how that relates to the economy, but there’s no doubt that hunting has a beneficial impact on many Americans.

Here are a few examples…

Since 2003, the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation used state grant money to help local food pantry programs offset costs of processing. It’s a great way for “non-elk” states to use money raised within that given state to help local causes.

Since 2000 in Wisconsin, hunters donated 92,000 animals to the state’s deer donation program. That equates to more than 3.7 million pounds of venison.

Since 2003 in Montana, hunters donated almost a quarter-million pounds of wild game to the Hunters Against Hunger program. And that translates into an average of 34,000 meals annually.

So what’s meat worth?

The Alaska Soil and Water Conservation District conducted a detailed economic study weighing the consumptive value of moose –or hunting and eating them – versus the non-consumptive approach of tourism – or looking at and taking pictures of them.

The results led researchers to project the value of Alaska’s moose-viewing industry from 2005 to 2025 will be $63 million. Over that same time period, it projected the value of moose hunting will be $363 million. So hunting and eating moose generates nearly six times more revenue than simply looking at them.

The Wild Harvest Initiative, an endeavor investigating the economic value and food replacement costs for wild game, has some eyebrow-raising results of its own.

It reported that hunters in the 2014-15 and 2015-16 U.S. hunting seasons took an estimated 383,361 elk nationwide.

That represented an estimated 102.7 million pounds of processed elk meat.

Assuming six-ounce servings, this elk meat likely provided Americans with more than 272 million meals.

Generating vital funding for conservation, wildlife management and boosting the economy all highlight how Hunting Is Conservation.