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Economic Impact of Wildlife-Associated Recreation in Kentucky: 2011

Wildlife-related recreation generates billions of dollars for our nation's economy every year.

In an effort to highlight the contributions of southeastern hunters, anglers, and wildlife watchers, we are featuring findings from the 2011 National Survey of Fishing, Hunting, and Wildlife-Associated Recreation report. This report is the result of interviews conducted by the Census Bureau with U.S. residents about their fishing, hunting, and wildlife watching. It focuses on 2011 participation and expenditures of persons 16 years of age and older.

Wildlife-related recreation is fishing, hunting, and wildlife-watching activities. These categories are not mutually exclusive because many individuals participated in more than one activity. Wildlife-related recreation is reported in two major categories: (1) fishing and hunting, and (2) wildlife watching, which includes observing, photographing, and feeding fish or wildlife.

According to the report, in 2011 1.7 million people participated in wildlife-related recreation in the state of Kentucky, generating $2.9 billion for our economy.

“Fishing, hunting, and wildlife viewing together comprise a top industry in Kentucky and across the nation. These activities are important to the social fabric of Kentucky’s communities, in addition to supporting tens of thousands of jobs and generating the funds for fish and wildlife conservation in the Commonwealth.”
Quote by: Benjy Kinman, Deputy Commissioner with Kentucky Fish and Wildlife

 

Read Kentucky's News Release

Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources

Graphs and charts on this page are from the original report. The full report is available here! Kentucky Census

 

Money Icon2011 Kentucky Quick Financials

  • $2.9 billion total spent on wildlife-related recreation in Kentucky
  • $807 million spent in Kentucky from fishing-related activities
  • $798 million spent in Kentucky on hunting-related activities
  • $773 million spent in Kentucky on wildlife-watching activities

 

Pie chart showing 32% spent on trip-related cost, 11% on other, 57% on equipment expenses.

Fishing IconFishing in Kentucky: $807 Million

Who fishes in Kentucky, and how much do they spend?

  • 554,000 people 16 years and older spent a combined total of 10.2 million days fishing in the state of Kentucky in 2011
    • 81% of anglers were state residents (451,000 people)
    • 19% of anglers were from out-of-state (103,000 people)
  • In total, residents and nonresidents combined spent an estimated total of $807 million on fishing in the state in 2011
    • Trip-related expenditures (food, lodging, transportation): $259 million
    • Equipment: $463 million
    • Other items (magazines, membership dues, licenses, etc.): $85 million - 11% of all fishing expenditures
  • Residents spent 10,014 days fishing freshwater fish
  • 51% of the freshwater fish caught were Black Bass

 

Pie chart showing 30% spent on trip-related cost, 26% on other, 44% on equipment expenses.

Hunting IconHunting in Kentucky: $798 Million

Who hunts in Kentucky, and how much do they spend?

  • 347,000 people 16 years and older spent a combined total of 12.2 million days hunting in the state of Kentucky in 2011
    • 91% of hunters were state residents (316,000 people)
    • 8% of hunters were out-of-state (31,000 people)
  • In total, residents and nonresidents combined spent an estimated total of $798 million on hunting in the state in 2011
    • Trip-related expenditures (food, lodging, transportation): $242 million
    • Equipment: $350 million
    • Other items (magazines, membership dues, licenses, etc.): $206 million - 26% of all hunting expenditures
  • More money was spent hunting small game than was spent on big game ($25 small game vs. $19 big game), the sample size of hunters hunting migratory birds and other animals was too small to report reliably
  • However, each individual hunter spent more overall on their big game trips ($586 per trip) than on their small game trips ($323 per trip)

Bar chart depicting difference in spending between types of hunting

 

 

Pie chart showing 16% spent on trip-related cost, 62% on other, 22% on equipment expenses.

Watching IconWildlife-Watching in Kentucky: $773 Million

Who watches wildlife in Kentucky, and how much do they spend?

Two wildlife-watching activities are reported: (1) away-from-home activities and (2) around-the-home activities. Because some people participated in more than one type of wildlife watching, the sum of participants in each type will be greater than the total number of wildlife watchers. Only those engaged in activities whose primary purpose was wildlife watching are included in the survey. Secondary wildlife watching, such as incidentally observing wildlife while pleasure driving, is not included.

  • 1.3 million people 16 years and older watched wildlife in Kentucky in 2011
    • 85% of all wildlife watchers did so close to their home (1.1 million people)
    • 26% of all wildlife watchers traveled at least one mile from home to observe wildlife (348,000 people)
    • (116,000 people) were nonresidents
  • In total, residents and nonresidents combined spent an estimated total of $773 million on wildlife-watching in the state
    • Trip-related expenditures (food, lodging, transportation): $125 million
    • Equipment: $167 million
    • Other items (magazines, membership dues, plantings, etc.): $481 million - 62% of all wildlife-watching expenditures
  • The most popular around-the-home wildlife-watching activity is feeding wildlife (935,000 people)
  • Kentuckians spent nearly 1.9 million days engaged in away-from-home wildlife-watching activities in their state
  • More people photographed wildlife while near their homes than while away from their homes (302,000 people at home, 191,000 away-from-home)
  • Not enough data was collected on the number of people visiting parks and natural areas to observe wildlife

 

 

Ducking hunting in Kentucky

Ducking hunting in Kentucky Photo: Worth Baker

 

A Red Bellied Woodpecker.

A Red Bellied Woodpecker. Photo: Trisha Shears

Last updated: September 26, 2013
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