A recent report has revealed intriguing insights into how individuals in Washington choose to spend their time and money in the great outdoors.
According to a report released by the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife on Thursday, over 7.5 million individuals engaged in hunting, fishing, and wildlife watching activities in the state in 2022.
Those individuals collectively spent a staggering $9 billion on their travel expenses and equipment.
According to a news release, Kelly Susewind, the Director of WDFW, emphasized that the data clearly demonstrates the positive economic impact of the state’s fish and wildlife agency’s efforts.
According to Susewind, the preservation of fish, wildlife, and their habitats, as well as the provision of sustainable opportunities, play a crucial role in our way of life and define our identity. Additionally, these efforts create employment and economic prospects for our residents, while also generating tax revenue for the state.
According to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s National Survey of Fishing, Hunting and Wildlife Associated Recreation, the figures are based on state-level data. The survey, which is conducted every five years, was recently published and revealed that Americans invested nearly $400 billion in these activities in 2022.
Washington chose to receive state-level data from the 2022 survey, along with 14 other states. Braeden Van Deynze, the author of the report and a natural resource economist for WDFW, emphasized the value of this information in understanding the unique aspects of wildlife-related recreation in Washington.
Van Deynze emphasized the significance of obtaining precise information tailored to their state.
According to the report, wildlife watching emerged as the most popular activity, with approximately 6.2 million people engaging in this pursuit in 2022.
Fishing followed closely behind, attracting 1.2 million participants, while hunting came in third place with 292,000 individuals taking part.
In 2022, the number of individuals engaging in wildlife-related activities in Washington was a staggering 4.4 million. This figure encompasses both residents and nonresidents, with the majority being Washingtonians themselves. To put it into perspective, this means that approximately 72% of the state’s population actively participated in these activities.
According to Van Deyne, residents in our state also showed a higher level of participation in fishing and wildlife watching compared to other states that collected state-level data. However, their involvement in hunting was not as prominent.
In 2022, the hunting participation rate in Washington stood at 4%, which was slightly lower compared to the national average of 6%. However, it is worth mentioning that Washington boasted a higher rate of female hunters compared to other states. This fact contributed to a more balanced ratio between male and female hunters in the region.
According to the report, individuals collectively spent a staggering 67 million days engaged in recreational activities outside of their homes. Among these activities, fishing accounted for 12.6 million days, hunting occupied 2.6 million days, while wildlife watching comprised the remaining 52 million days.
When we look at these numbers on an individual level, they may not seem as overwhelming. On average, hunters spent nine days pursuing their passion, while anglers dedicated 11 days to fishing, and wildlife watchers spent 13 days observing animals in their natural habitats.
A significant portion of individuals engaged in multiple activities, with approximately 31% of wildlife enthusiasts also participating in fishing or hunting. Moreover, a majority of hunters and anglers also dedicated time to observing wildlife. Surprisingly, around 56% of hunters allocated their time to both wildlife watching and fishing.
The majority of hunters didn’t confine themselves to a single species. According to the report, 74% of hunters pursued big game such as deer or elk. Additionally, the study revealed that many of these hunters also actively went after small game species, including waterfowl and upland birds.
In 2022, hunters proved to be significant contributors to the economy, with the median hunter spending a substantial $1,246 on trips and gear. On the other hand, both anglers and wildlife watchers had lower spending levels, with the median individual from each group spending less than $700.
According to the report, hunters in Washington spent approximately double the amount on equipment compared to hunters in other locations.
According to the report, the expenditure made by individuals on equipment, gas, food, and lodging for larger trips has a notable effect on the state’s budget. The study revealed that the $9 billion spent on outdoor recreation is directly correlated to approximately $630 million in sales and business taxes contributed to the state’s general fund.