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Economic Impact of Wildlife-Associated Recreation in North Carolina: 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 3.5 million people participated in wildlife-related recreation in the state of North Carolina, generating $3.3 billion for our economy.

Read North Carolina's News Release

North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission

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

 

Money Icon2011 North Carolina Quick Financials

  • $3.3 billion total spent on wildlife-related recreation in North Carolina
  • $1.5 billion spent in North Carolina from fishing-related activities
  • $525 million spent in North Carolina on hunting-related activities
  • $930 million spent in North Carolina on wildlife-watching activities

 

Pie chart showing 52% spent on trip-related, 1% on other, 46% on equipment costs.

Fishing IconFishing in North Carolina: $1.5 Billion

Who fishes in North Carolina, and how much do they spend?

  • 1.5 million people 16 years and older spent a combined total of 23.5 million days fishing in the state of North Carolina in 2011
    • 78% of anglers were state residents (1.2 million people)
    • 22% of anglers were from out-of-state (329,000 people)
  • In total, residents and nonresidents combined spent an estimated total of $1.5 billion on fishing in the state in 2011
    • Trip-related expenditures (food, lodging, transportation): $1.0 billion
    • Equipment: $480 million
    • Other items (magazines, membership dues, licenses, etc.): $23 million - 2% of all fishing expenditures
  • People spend almost twice as much per day of fishing on saltwater fishing as freshwater fishing ($47/day saltwater vs. $25/day freshwater)
  • The most popular fish with freshwater anglers is catfish

 

Pie chart showing 43% spent on trip-related costs, 23% on other, 35% on equipment

Hunting IconHunting in North Carolina: $525 Million

Who hunts in North Carolina, and how much do they spend?

  • 335,000 people 16 years and older spent a combined total of 7.6 million days hunting in the state of North Carolina in 2011
    • 77% of hunters were state residents (259,000 people)
    • 23% of hunters were out-of-state (76,000 people)
  • In total, residents and nonresidents combined spent an estimated total of $525 million on hunting in the state in 2011
    • Trip-related expenditures (food, lodging, transportation): $225 million
    • Equipment: $182 million
    • Other items (magazines, membership dues, licenses, etc.): $119 million - 23% of all hunting expenditures
  • Hunters on average spent more than twice as much per day hunting migratory birds than on big and small game hunting($53 migratory birds, $21 big game and $16 small game)
  • Migratory bird hunters spent more than three times as much on their hunting trips ($1,000 per trip) than was spent on big and small game trips ($373 per trip) each

Bar chart depicting difference in spending between types of hunting

 

 

Pie chart showing 40% spent on trip-related costs, 48% on equipment, 12% on other

Watching IconWildlife-Watching in North Carolina: $734 Million

Who watches wildlife in North Carolina, 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.

  • 2.4 million people 16 years and older watched wildlife in North Carolina in 2011
    • 87% of all wildlife watchers did so close to their home (2.1 million people)
    • 29% of all wildlife watchers traveled at least one mile from home to observe wildlife (703,000 people)
    • (317,000 people) of away-from-home wildlife watchers were from out-of-state
  • In total, residents and nonresidents combined spent an estimated total of $930 million on wildlife-watching in the state
    • Trip-related expenditures (food, lodging, transportation): $367 million
    • Equipment: $449 million
    • Other items (magazines, membership dues, plantings, etc.): $113 million - 12% of all wildlife-watching expenditures
  • The most popular around-the-home wildlife-watching activity is feeding wildlife (1.8 million people)
  • North Carolinans spent nearly 8.4 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 (745,000 people at home, 521,000 away-from-home)
  • 424,000 people reported visiting parks and natural areas to observe wildlife

 

 

Casting his net on the Cape Fear River in NC.

Casting his net on the Cape Fear River in NC. Photo: Angie Shyrigh

 

A Red Fox in Duck, North Carolina.

A Red Fox in Duck, North Carolina. Photo: Sugargliding

Last updated: September 26, 2013
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