Economic Impact of Deer Hunting: Millions, in 1 State

Check out this Iowa giant! What a buck!

Check out this Iowa giant! What a buck!

Deer hunters don’t have to explain in depth to too many folks just how important it is financially in the United States, mainly because we already know the impact from small businesses to large corporations.

Ask a deer hunter if he or she knows someone who has makes grunt calls, accessories or works with a hunting-related company in some form and chances are good they’ll say yes. They may even work for a company that makes apparel or are just friends with the local outdoor writer or the guy behind the counter at the outdoors store.

So it’s no surprise that the hunting-related financial impact in the United States each year numbers in the billions of dollars. That can be anything from an expensive ATV or membership in a deer club with all the trappings that go with that — building food plots and stands, setting up camp, groceries and what not — to the cost of gas, gear and licenses if you hoof it on public land as a DIY minimalist. Both have their place.

One of the most popular deer hunting states, Iowa, has been hit the last few years by changes from the state wildlife agency, disease and weather. License sales fell by about 21,000 from the 2013 season, too. Still, the economic impact of deer hunting in Iowa was an eye-popping $297 million for the 2014 season.

That’s according to the Iowa Department of Natural Resources during a recent presentation by Dale Garner to the Iowa House Natural Resources Committee.

Iowa DNR ended a January antlerless season and lowered the number of antlerless permits, Garner said, which the agency believes was one reason for the license sale decline. He said does accounted for 46 percent of the deer killed in 2014, which was 101,589.

To the numbers, Garner said deer hunting was responsible for 3,287 jobs, $103 million in salaries and wages, and an additional $21.4 million in state taxes and $23.5 million in federal taxes.

That jobs total likely is pretty accurate but as we deer hunters know, that may not include some smaller mom ‘n pop businesses. It’s always good to see how much of an impact hunting has on the economy, though, in good times and bad.

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