Resident and Nonresident Hunter and Angler Expenditures, Characteristics, and Economic Effects, North Dakota, 2017-2018

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Authors and Contributors

NDSU - Elvis Ndembe, Dean A. Bangsund, Nancy M. Hodur


Research papers

Research Category


Target Species





hunting fishing economics expenditures



The purpose of this study was to estimate the economic effects of hunting and fishing activities during the 2017-2018 season on the North Dakota economy, and to compare current information to previous studies to identify trends in hunting and angling activities. A mail survey of 24,451 resident hunters and anglers and 7,914 nonresident hunters and anglers was conducted to solicit information on 19 hunting and fishing activities during the 2017-2018 season.

Total spending by hunters and anglers in North Dakota during the 2017-2018 season was estimated at $974.4 million, excluding purchases of licenses. Resident hunter and angler expenditures were estimated at $846.8 million, and nonresident hunter and angler expenditures were estimated at $127.6 million. Hunting expenditures were estimated at $186.6 million, and fishing expenditures were estimated at $787.8 million. Residents spent a total of $486.4 million in rural areas while nonresidents spent $89.6 million.

Total direct expenditures ($974.4 million) from hunting and fishing in North Dakota generated $1,139.1 million in secondary economic effects. Gross business volume (direct and secondary effects) of hunting and fishing in North Dakota was estimated at $2.1 billion. Hunting and fishing activities were estimated to generate $48.2 million in general state tax collections and support 3,263 full-time equivalent jobs throughout the state.

As a result of increased average per person spending in most hunting and fishing activities and increased number of participants in some activities, total spending in North Dakota increased by $267.3 million or 38 percent from 2011-12 to 2017-2018. Total spending by resident hunters and anglers increased by $290.2 million or 52 percent, while nonresident spending increased by $41.4 million or 48 percent over the period. Hunter expenditures adjusted for inflation decreased by $52.7 million or 22 percent decline, while angler expenditures increased by $320.0 million or 68 percent over the period. Gross business volume from all hunting and fishing activities increased by $595.9 million (39 percent) over the period.

Despite the loss of a substantial amount of wildlife habitat since the previous study (2011/2012), collective spending by hunters and anglers is larger than previous estimates and remains an economically important industry in North Dakota. Key observations from this study are that hunters are spending less money afield—primarily driven by fewer opportunities linked to large declines in deer populations—but collectively hunters are spending more on equipment and gear than observed in previous studies despite diminished in-state hunting opportunities. The number of anglers has increased substantially (both resident and nonresident) as well as the per-person spending on gear and equipment. The increase in fishing expenditures, both open water and ice fishing, has completely offset reductions in hunting expenditures.