Skip to main content Skip to main content

Elk hunting adds nearly $1 billion a year to economy

Elk hunting adds nearly $1 billion a year to economy

MISSOULA, Mont. - Elk hunting in America is big business. The average elk hunter spends $1,201 a year pursuing the species - the second-highest amount of any game animal - and contributes to an economic engine worth nearly $1 billion annually. Elk hunters outspend all others on guides, food, lodging, private transportation, licenses and tags, but trail deer hunters in overall per capita spending by $37. Duck hunters are third at $1,182 a year.

Within the data, one spending category is for dues, such as membership dues to conservation organizations. In this category, elk hunters fall behind several other groups.

David Allen, president and CEO of the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation, said, "In reviewing the data, we were struck by the fact that for $35 - less than 3 percent of the average outlay for elk hunting - you can join the Elk Foundation and invest in conserving and enhancing the habitat that makes good hunting possible."

Founded in 1984, the Elk Foundation has led a massive conservation movement that has helped improve wildlife habitat on over 5.2 million acres, a land area larger than Connecticut, Delaware and District of Columbia combined. More than 500,000 acres previously closed to public access are now open for hunting, fishing and other recreation.


Today, however, the once-open spaces of the West are being developed and populated much faster than the national average. Noxious, encroaching and under-managed vegetation also threaten the future of elk habitat, hunting and related economic benefits.


"A $35 membership to the Elk Foundation supports habitat conservation efforts across elk country, as well as education and hunting heritage projects nationwide. Plus, members receive our award-winning magazine, 'Bugle,'" said Allen.

Some interesting average annual expenditures per elk hunter:

Guides $189.91
Private Transport. $150.25
Food $129.46
Lodging $70.56
Licenses/Fees $65.46
Rifles $56.38
Bows $35.24
Taxidermy $30.67
Ammunition $24.80
Scopes $23.73
Handguns $15.24
Dues $13.34
Binoculars $11.06
Decoys $7.54

In total, there are 794,602 elk hunters in the U.S. generating $954,421,128 annually in total spending, much of it in rural areas that depend on hunting revenue.




Data are based on the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's "2006 National Survey of Fishing, Hunting and Wildlife - Associated Recreation," prepared for the National Shooting Sports Foundation's "Today's Hunter" report, 2008.

To learn more about the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation, visit www.elkfoundation.org or call 800-CALL-ELK.

GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.

Recommended Articles

Popular Videos

Beyond the Bait: How to Choose and Fish Crankbaits for Smallmouth

Beyond the Bait: How to Choose and Fish Crankbaits for Smallmouth

Crankbaits excel for smallmouth bass not only in lakes and reservoirs but also in waters with current, such as rivers. Fishing a crankbait is straightforward, but there's more to it than just casting and reeling. In this episode of Beyond the Bait, we'll go over how to choose the right crankbait based on water depth and other conditions, as well as how to fish it effectively for smallmouth bass.

On the Range

On the Range

We've spent lots of time discussing the features of the Lupo and how they benefit hunters. Now, on episode 11 of Beyond the Rifle, it's time to put these features to use on the range. We realize not everyone can shoot a Lupo today, so we hope this episode gives hunters a good idea of the kind of performance they can expect from this rifle.

Umarex The Modern Air Rifle: Air Rifle Hunting with the Umarex Surgemax Elite .22

Umarex The Modern Air Rifle: Air Rifle Hunting with the Umarex Surgemax Elite .22

.22 Caliber air rifles are becoming more and more popular and this front loading, single shot rifle is easy use and very dependable. Discover all the features of the Surgemax Elite .22 and see how it can become a great training tool that's a lot of fun at the same time.

See All Videos

Magazine Cover

GET THE MAGAZINE Subscribe & Save

Digital Now Included!

SUBSCRIBE NOW

Give a Gift   |   Subscriber Services

PREVIEW THIS MONTH'S ISSUE

Buy Digital Single Issues

Don't miss an issue.
Buy single digital issue for your phone or tablet.

Buy Single Digital Issue on the Game & Fish App

Other Magazines

See All Other Magazines

Special Interest Magazines

See All Special Interest Magazines

GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.

Get the top Game & Fish stories delivered right to your inbox every week.

Phone Icon

Get Digital Access.

All Game & Fish subscribers now have digital access to their magazine content. This means you have the option to read your magazine on most popular phones and tablets.

To get started, click the link below to visit mymagnow.com and learn how to access your digital magazine.

Get Digital Access

Not a Subscriber?
Subscribe Now