State By State Hunting Data in the USA: Hunting Statistics 2020


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When it comes to hunting, it’s always worthwhile to know the different statistics for each of the U.S. Indeed, hunting is a massive industry and brings in substantial amounts of income for the country; therefore, the statistics behind the industry are absolutely worth knowing. 

What’s more, being aware of the total stats can also provide valuable insight into the strength and viability of the hunting industry at present and how the industry is performing as time passes by.

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How Many Hunting Licenses were Sold 2020?

According to the U.S. Fish And Wildlife Service, a total of 38,854,259 Hunting Licenses, Tags, Permits & Stamps had been registered for the year 2020.

Resident Hunting Licenses, Tags, Permits and Stamps: 35,091,264
Cost Resident Hunting Licenses, Tags, Permits, and Stamps: $543,700,877

Non-Resident Hunting Licenses, Tags, Permits, and Stamps: 3,762,995
Cost Non-Resident Hunting Licenses, Tags, Permits, and Stamps: $358,656,021

Gross Cost Total: $902,356,898
(source: fws.gov)

To legally hunt wild game in the United States, hunters need to have a license to do so (at least in most cases – some states allow hunting on your land without a license…).

As such, this offers an exceptionally valuable insight into the size and scale of the hunting industry, to begin with.

This can provide data on a state-by-state basis regarding the number of people actively engaging in population control and hunting; moreover, it can also inform us about how the skill is being passed down through the generations.

In short, the data about the number of licenses sold for legal hunting is vital for assessing the industry as a whole.

Predominantly, these individuals engage with hunting as a pastime instead of a way of life for food and the like; however, this hasn’t impacted the importance of the industry in conservation and management.

Indeed, while some push for hunting to be banned, legal and controlled hunting is a hugely important aspect of an effective ecosystem and wild population management.

Moreover, the sale of hunting licenses, along with specialist hunting gear from teams such as Dicks Sporting Goods, contributes significantly to local budgets, allowing for the future preservation of parkland and wild areas.

Changes in the Number of Hunting Licenses

If you compare the numbers between 2019 to 2020, you will notice that the Gross Cost Total for licenses was slightly up by $3 million in 2020. Meanwhile, it seems that Non-Residence Licenses are down by almost one million when compared to 2019. This is most likely due to COVID and people not traveling as much as in 2019.

The statistics are provided by the US Fish and Wildlife Service (source: fws.gov).

Hunting Habits

Generally speaking, the vast majority of hunters in the United States, according to the 2016 National Survey of Fishing, Hunting, and Wildlife-Association Recreation survey, target big game, with deer being the most hunted species annually.

Following this, the next biggest target among American hunters was wild turkeys, with elk and bear coming close at third and fourth in total popularity among hunters.

However, each state will vary depending on the variety of wildlife in the region and the prevalence of these species; fortunately, harvest reports and license sales provide an insight into individual state statistics. Nonetheless, big game remains the most popular type of hunting.

(source: U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service)

States That Have the Most Residents with Hunting Licenses

At this point, you might be wondering – which states have the most residents with hunting licenses?

Some of the biggest states for hunting are listed below before we consider the state by state hunting data:

·         South Dakota: 24.1% of residents have a paid hunting license

·         Wyoming: 22.7% of residents have a paid hunting license

·         Montana: 21.1% of residents have a paid hunting license

·         North Dakota: 17.2% of residents have a paid hunting license

·         Idaho: 16.5% of residents have a paid hunting license

Which States Have the Most Hunting Licenses Revenue?

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The hunting data for each state varies significantly. Indeed, some of the biggest hunting states can attain millions of dollars of revenue more than others simply from hunting licenses alone.

As such, we’ll take a look at the statistics for the fifty states as follows, ordered by the Gross Cost Hunting Licenses fees. We also listed the Non-Resident Licenses. That way, you can quickly see how essential hunters from outside the state are for the overall revenue.

Colorado

Gross Cost Hunting Licenses, Tags, Permits, and Stamps: $59,006,693
Cost Non-Resident Hunting Licenses, Tags, Permits, and Stamps: $46,439,812

Texas

Gross Cost Hunting Licenses, Tags, Permits, and Stamps: $46,886,984
Cost Non-Resident Hunting Licenses, Tags, Permits, and Stamps: $12,044,892

Wisconsin

Gross Cost Hunting Licenses, Tags, Permits, and Stamps: $40,940,312
Cost Non-Resident Hunting Licenses, Tags, Permits, and Stamps: $7,865,956

Wisconsin is a well-known hunting region, with the largest kill being deer; according to the DNR, 336,000 were harvested in 2018, primarily by bow and crossbow hunters. Turkey kills were also up to 39,000, representing a significant revenue for the region.

The total value of hunting licenses in Wisconsin is staggering at over $40 million; meanwhile, 11.7% of the population holds a hunting license.

However, hunting safety courses in Oneida county were discontinued by Governor Tony Evers following the Covid-19 pandemic and lockdowns. As a result, there are some concerns about the future of Wisconsin hunting, despite it being a significant cultural tradition in the area.

Montana

Gross Cost Hunting Licenses, Tags, Permits, and Stamps: $38,983,268
Cost Non-Resident Hunting Licenses, Tags, Permits, and Stamps: $28,026,136

Boasting some of the biggest hunting income of all states, 21.1% of Montana residents have a paid hunting license. These fees bring in an impressive $38 million to the state annually.

A significant concern in Montana facing the future of the region’s hunting, though, is whether Grizzly Bears can be legally hunted; as such, the future of hunting in Montana could be affected if these laws were to change to prevent Grizzlies from being legal game.

Pennsylvania

Gross Cost Hunting Licenses, Tags, Permits, and Stamps: $36,873,199
Cost Non-Resident Hunting Licenses, Tags, Permits, and Stamps: $6,256,740

Michigan

Gross Cost Hunting Licenses, Tags, Permits, and Stamps: $35,676,998
Cost Non-Resident Hunting Licenses, Tags, Permits, and Stamps: $4,255,949

Illinois

Gross Cost Hunting Licenses, Tags, Permits, and Stamps: $31,024,125
Cost Non-Resident Hunting Licenses, Tags, Permits, and Stamps: $15,279,404

Minnesota

Gross Cost Hunting Licenses, Tags, Permits, and Stamps: $30,336,640
Cost Non-Resident Hunting Licenses, Tags, Permits, and Stamps: $3,627,662

Minnesota has a total hunting population of residents of just 9.8%, although this is an issue as the elk population in the region has been rapidly rising.

As such, the state has made changes to increase the number of elk hunting licenses and extend the season for hunting elk to try to control the population. The state achieves an impressive hunting revenue of $30 million from license sales.

Idaho

Gross Cost Hunting Licenses, Tags, Permits, and Stamps: $29,105,510
Cost Non-Resident Hunting Licenses, Tags, Permits, and Stamps: $18,106,111

There has largely been a trend toward a reduction in the number of hunting licenses sold these days – but not in Idaho, where the number of paid license sales has been growing.

Now, about 16.5% of residents hold a paid license and the total revenue was over $29 million, making Idaho one of the USA’s hunting hotspots are present.

The trends in hunting in Idaho indicate that mule deer and white tailed deer harvests have increased, although elk hunting has remained consistent.

However, a concern in the region is the relatively low success rate of hunts, with whitetail deer being the most successful prey at 42%.

Oregon

Gross Cost Hunting Licenses, Tags, Permits, and Stamps: $28,221,918
Cost Non-Resident Hunting Licenses, Tags, Permits, and Stamps: $5,802,531

wyoming welcome sign

Wyoming

Gross Cost Hunting Licenses, Tags, Permits, and Stamps: $26,079,665
Cost Non-Resident Hunting Licenses, Tags, Permits, and Stamps: $19,335,046

Pronghorn hunting is among the most common in Wyoming, with a 94% success rate according to 2017 harvest report surveys. 22.7% of all Wyoming residents hold a paid hunting license, largely due to the region’s hunting heritage. Unlike in some other states, hunting statistics have remained stable annually in Wyoming. The total revenue for Wyoming from hunting licenses valued at over $26 million.

Kansas

Gross Cost Hunting Licenses, Tags, Permits, and Stamps: $25,944,894
Cost Non-Resident Hunting Licenses, Tags, Permits, and Stamps: $18,157,390

New York

Gross Cost Hunting Licenses, Tags, Permits, and Stamps: $24,248,161
Cost Non-Resident Hunting Licenses, Tags, Permits, and Stamps: $4,124,485

Missouri

Gross Cost Hunting Licenses, Tags, Permits, and Stamps: $21,801,827
Cost Non-Resident Hunting Licenses, Tags, Permits, and Stamps: $9,578,126

Ohio

Gross Cost Hunting Licenses, Tags, Permits, and Stamps: $21,634,294
Cost Non-Resident Hunting Licenses, Tags, Permits, and Stamps: $6,699,370

Virginia

Gross Cost Hunting Licenses, Tags, Permits, and Stamps: $21,279,813
Cost Non-Resident Hunting Licenses, Tags, Permits, and Stamps: $3,833,734

California

Gross Cost Hunting Licenses, Tags, Permits, and Stamps: $21,107,452
Cost Non-Resident Hunting Licenses, Tags, Permits, and Stamps: $1,050,369

Tennessee

Gross Cost Hunting Licenses, Tags, Permits, and Stamps: $20,908,618
Cost Non-Resident Hunting Licenses, Tags, Permits, and Stamps: $4,055,686

10.1% of Tennessee residents have a hunting license; however, despite the somewhat lower figure, the state still manages to achieve a healthy $21 million in revenue from the sale of hunting licenses.

South Dakota

Gross Cost Hunting Licenses, Tags, Permits, and Stamps: $20,405,234
Cost Non-Resident Hunting Licenses, Tags, Permits, and Stamps: $12,997,380

South Dakota is the largest state for hunting, with 24.1% of residents holding a paid hunting license. The sales of hunting licenses, tags, permits, and stamps in the state total a value of over $20 million. However, hunting decline is a serious issue in the state, leading to significant losses in revenue for the state budget. This is significant, as half of the state’s budget for game, fish, and park management is derived from the revenue from hunting.

Iowa

Gross Cost Hunting Licenses, Tags, Permits, and Stamps: $20,076,441
Cost Non-Resident Hunting Licenses, Tags, Permits, and Stamps: $7,113,470

Kentucky 

Gross Cost Hunting Licenses, Tags, Permits, and Stamps: $19,369,805
Cost Non-Resident Hunting Licenses, Tags, Permits, and Stamps: $8,402,289

Georgia

Gross Cost Hunting Licenses, Tags, Permits, and Stamps: $19,171,012
Cost Non-Resident Hunting Licenses, Tags, Permits, and Stamps: $9,505,854

Arkansas

Gross Cost Hunting Licenses, Tags, Permits, and Stamps: $18,830,352
Cost Non-Resident Hunting Licenses, Tags, Permits, and Stamps: $11,091,991

Another state that achieves a high income from a relatively small number of resident hunters, Arkansas, brings in about $18 million in revenue annually from hunting license sales, and 9.7% of the population hold these licenses. However, hunting has been on the decline in the region nonetheless; as such, a conservation tax was implemented in 1996 to make up the difference in revenue.

Utah

Gross Cost Hunting Licenses, Tags, Permits, and Stamps: $18,074,717
Cost Non-Resident Hunting Licenses, Tags, Permits, and Stamps: $6,410,838

Arizona

Gross Cost Hunting Licenses, Tags, Permits, and Stamps: $17,485,504
Cost Non-Resident Hunting Licenses, Tags, Permits, and Stamps: $5,054,435

Washington

Gross Cost Hunting Licenses, Tags, Permits, and Stamps: $17,068,229
Cost Non-Resident Hunting Licenses, Tags, Permits, and Stamps: $1,054,900

New Mexico

Gross Cost Hunting Licenses, Tags, Permits, and Stamps: $16,064,100
Cost Non-Resident Hunting Licenses, Tags, Permits, and Stamps: $10,483,651

Nebraska

Gross Cost Hunting Licenses, Tags, Permits, and Stamps: $15,851,695
Cost Non-Resident Hunting Licenses, Tags, Permits, and Stamps: $7,233,063

9.5% of Nebraska residents hold a hunting license, bringing in almost $16 million in revenue annually. However, the Nebraska government has been attempting to increase the frequency of deer hunting by providing four free permits per landowner and proposing an earlier deer hunting season, as the population has begun to destroy the region’s arable crops.

Mississippi

Gross Cost Hunting Licenses, Tags, Permits, and Stamps: $12,791,274
Cost Non-Resident Hunting Licenses, Tags, Permits, and Stamps: $8,224,905

Mississippi has a total of 9.7% of its residents holding a hunting license, and hunting license sales bring in almost $13 million in revenue. Deer harvests in the region have been falling in recent years, however, with the 2017-18 harvest being only 195,000 head for approximately 300,000 hunting license holders.

Alabama

Gross Cost Hunting Licenses, Tags, Permits, and Stamps: $11,793,800
Cost Non-Resident Hunting Licenses, Tags, Permits, and Stamps: $6,298,911

Alabama has a total hunting license population of 10.3% and is yet another urbanization victim; however, unlike Vermont before it, the state still achieves a decent revenue from the sale of hunting licenses at almost $12 million. Nonetheless, changing social trends and a reduced interest among younger generations significantly impact Alabama’s hunting.

Indiana

Gross Cost Hunting Licenses, Tags, Permits, and Stamps: $11,308,327
Cost Non-Resident Hunting Licenses, Tags, Permits, and Stamps: $2,446,329

Shadow of a bowhunter

Alaska

Gross Cost Hunting Licenses, Tags, Permits, and Stamps: $11,114,179
Cost Non-Resident Hunting Licenses, Tags, Permits, and Stamps: $6,552,184

Alaskan national preserves used to have limitations in the number of hunting and trapping styles that could be used – however. This was overturned in June 2020 by the Trump government, a change supported by local tribal leaders. The total number of Alaskan residents holding a hunting license now stands at approximately 12.3%, and the revenue from these sales grossed at over $11 million, representing a significant income for the region indeed

South Carolina

Gross Cost Hunting Licenses, Tags, Permits, and Stamps: $10,816,831
Cost Non-Resident Hunting Licenses, Tags, Permits, and Stamps: $5,139,909

North Carolina

Gross Cost Hunting Licenses, Tags, Permits, and Stamps: $10,669,918
Cost Non-Resident Hunting Licenses, Tags, Permits, and Stamps: $2,244,101

North Dakota

Gross Cost Hunting Licenses, Tags, Permits, and Stamps: $10,497,040
Cost Non-Resident Hunting Licenses, Tags, Permits, and Stamps: $5,933,515

Although not quite as high on the list as South Dakota, North Dakota still has an impressive population percentage of hunters at 17.2% with revenue from hunting license sales totaling almost $10.5 million. However, hunting in the region is potentially predicted to fall due to recent low success rates; indeed, recent seasons have fallen below the 70% success rate minimum for a quality hunting season, which draws into doubt the potential for the region’s hunting future. These changes have potentially been due to the expansion of North Dakota farmland, eating into the habitat land for game species such as deer.

Louisiana

Gross Cost Hunting Licenses, Tags, Permits, and Stamps: $10,156,375
Cost Non-Resident Hunting Licenses, Tags, Permits, and Stamps: $2,052,961

Oklahoma

Gross Cost Hunting Licenses, Tags, Permits, and Stamps: $9,917,076
Cost Non-Resident Hunting Licenses, Tags, Permits, and Stamps: $4,493,340

Oklahoma allows black bear hunting, which makes it a popular destination for hunters looking to get out into the forests and find valuable species to hunt.

The total number of Oklahoma residents who hold a paid hunting license is 14.2%, and almost $10 million in revenue was achieved through the sales of hunting licenses.

West Virginia

Gross Cost Hunting Licenses, Tags, Permits, and Stamps: $8,831,815
Cost Non-Resident Hunting Licenses, Tags, Permits, and Stamps: $4,892,013

The Division of Natural Resources in West Virginia actively promotes hunting as a pastime in the region. Investment has been put into encouraging more people to get into hunting and other related outdoor activities. The current number of residents holding paid licenses is 11.6%, which isn’t shabby; the value of hunting licenses came in at considerably over $8 million.

Nevada

Gross Cost Hunting Licenses, Tags, Permits, and Stamps: $7,629,934
Cost Non-Resident Hunting Licenses, Tags, Permits, and Stamps: $4,026,751

New Jersey

Gross Cost Hunting Licenses, Tags, Permits, and Stamps: $7,629,928
Cost Non-Resident Hunting Licenses, Tags, Permits, and Stamps: $1,155,470

Maine

Gross Cost Hunting Licenses, Tags, Permits, and Stamps: $7,587,437
Cost Non-Resident Hunting Licenses, Tags, Permits, and Stamps: $3,112,086

Next up is Maine, which has a total population holding a hunting license of 11.5% – marginally lower than West Virginia. Hunting in Maine brings in a total revenue of over $7.5 million.

Florida

Gross Cost Hunting Licenses, Tags, Permits, and Stamps: $6,873,110
Cost Non-Resident Hunting Licenses, Tags, Permits, and Stamps: $1,087,551

Maryland

Gross Cost Hunting Licenses, Tags, Permits, and Stamps: $6,437,254
Cost Non-Resident Hunting Licenses, Tags, Permits, and Stamps: $3,105,259

New Hampshire

Gross Cost Hunting Licenses, Tags, Permits, and Stamps: $4,487,238
Cost Non-Resident Hunting Licenses, Tags, Permits, and Stamps: $1,433,957

woods in Vermont

Vermont

Gross Cost Hunting Licenses, Tags, Permits, and Stamps: $4,016,039
Cost Non-Resident Hunting Licenses, Tags, Permits, and Stamps: $1,019,112

Unfortunately for Vermont state, hunting sales have regularly been falling due to changing demeanors toward hunting and the increase in the state’s urbanization. This trend began in 1987 and hasn’t wavered since; now, the state has 10.3% of residents holding a paid hunting license but hunting only brings in $4 million in revenue from license sales.

Massachusetts

Gross Cost Hunting Licenses, Tags, Permits, and Stamps: $2,367,256
Cost Non-Resident Hunting Licenses, Tags, Permits, and Stamps: $413,387

Connecticut

Gross Cost Hunting Licenses, Tags, Permits, and Stamps: $2,325,211
Cost Non-Resident Hunting Licenses, Tags, Permits, and Stamps: $395,119

Delaware

Gross Cost Hunting Licenses, Tags, Permits, and Stamps: $1,447,208
Cost Non-Resident Hunting Licenses, Tags, Permits, and Stamps: $509,007

Hawaii

Gross Cost Hunting Licenses, Tags, Permits, and Stamps: $684,001
Cost Non-Resident Hunting Licenses, Tags, Permits, and Stamps: $130,745

Rhode Island

Gross Cost Hunting Licenses, Tags, Permits, and Stamps: $407,485
Cost Non-Resident Hunting Licenses, Tags, Permits, and Stamps: $101,534

Clickable Map Hunting Regulations

Conclusion

Hunting is a pivotal part of many communities and contributes a significant sum of money to many state budgets. Furthermore, the funds derived from the sale of hunting licenses are commonly used to maintain the habitats and landscapes for future generations of wildlife – making hunting an irrefutably sustainable pastime that many states are actively encouraging.

I am the founder and chief editor here at BowAddicted. I love my kids, archery, and the outdoors! It's been an amazing journey so far with some ups and downs, but it's worth it to spend time outside with friends and family.

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