A study has revealed just how many people are fishing, hunting and enjoying wildlife in Washington state and the amount of money they spend while doing it.  The numbers are eye opening.

The data comes from a 2022 national survey by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service that the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) will use for long term planning in a 10-year Recreation Strategy and 25 Year Strategic Plan.

Who is Hunting, Fishing, and Watching Wildlife in Washington State?

The study was authored by Braeden Van Deyne, PHD.  His analysis shows in 2022, nearly 3 out of 4 Washington residents age 16 or older participated in at least one wildlife-related recreation activity.  That was 4.4 million people out hunting, fishing or interacting with wildlife.  Participation rates in all activities was higher among Washington residents than the national average except for hunting with one interesting finding--the number of women who hunt in Washington is double the national average.

Image: WDFW/Duane Dixon
Image: WDFW/Duane Dixon

Between Washington residents and visitors, 1.2 million people fished Washington waters, 292,000 hunted, and 6.2 million watched wildlife in some fashion.

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How Much Revenue Is Generated?

The fishing, hunting, and wildlife viewing was estimated to have generated over $9 billion in spending on trip-related expenses and $630 million in taxes for the Washington state general fund.  Those are higher revenues than other sources like new motor vehicle sales, telecommunication sales, or hotel and accommodations sectors generated.

Image: WDFW
Image: WDFW

"Activities made possible through WDFW’s stewardship of fish, wildlife, and ecosystems have a significant impact on Washington's economy,” said Director Kelly Susewind. “Conserving fish, wildlife, and habitat and providing sustainable opportunities contribute to our way of life and identity while providing jobs and economic opportunities to our residents and generating tax revenue for the state."

Van Deyne's 2024 report "Fishing, Hunting, and Wildlife-Associated Recreation in Washington: Participation and Expenditures in 2022"

A report documenting full survey results is available on WDFW’s website.

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