Understanding Angler and Hunter Annual Spending in North Carolina

Given the economic importance of fishing and hunting and the pervasive declines in these activities, it is essential that natural resource planners and managers understand factors influencing angler and hunter spending. We conducted a mail survey of a random sample (n = 844) of North Carolina fishing and hunting license holders. On average, anglers spent US$964 and hunters spent $1,437 annually. The model that best explained annual angler expenditures included gender, age, number of days spent fishing annually, total value of their equipment, income, whether someone in their household had lost a job due to the economy, and importance of fishing to the respondent. The model that best explained annual hunter expenditures included number of days spent hunting annually, total value of their equipment, income, whether someone in their household had lost a job due to the economy, importance of hunting to the respondent, and whether they felt the current state of the economy would impact their hunting practices. All else equal, female anglers spent more than male anglers and the number of days anglers and hunters spent participating in their respective activity annually was negatively related to the amount they spent. Participants in activities with short seasons spent more than the average (e.g., 43% more for striped bass anglers, 170% more for bear hunters). Our results suggest job loss among both anglers and hunters led to increased spending. Fishing and hunting may represent a stabilizing force for local economies during economic recessions. Future research should explore why anglers and hunters who spend less time in the field spend more money than sportspersons who spend more time in the field and explore the relationships between economic downturns and fishing and hunting participation.

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