Fish and wildlife activities provide billions to Ohio’s economy

Wildlife-based recreation contributed nearly $12.5 billion to Ohio’s economy in 2022, according to a report from Wildlife Management Institute, Responsive Management and Southwick Associates.

“Ohio has rolling hills for hunting, vast waterways for fishing and thriving habitats for birding,” Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine said in a statement from the Ohio Department of Natural Resources Division of Wildlife. “The diverse natural wonders of Ohio prove once again the state really is ‘The Heart of it All.’”

In the study, Ohio residents were surveyed on their participation in outdoor recreation and the economic impact of those activities, which included hunting, fishing, target shooting and wildlife viewing. Ohio residents ages 18 and older, including licensed hunters and anglers, completed telephone and email surveys.

The four studied activities provided nearly 80,000 jobs in Ohio and $4 billion in income, plus $1.1 billion in local and state taxes and more than $600 million in federal taxes. The activities contributed a total of $6.7 billion to Ohio’s GDP in 2022. Of the $12.5 billion of economic activity created through these activities, residents contributed $12 billion, according to the release.

“We’ve always appreciated the great outdoors of Ohio and the natural spaces it has to offer,” Lt. Gov. Jon Husted said. “Beyond the environmental benefits, this report shows the economic value of Ohio’s topography and wildlife.”


In 2022, about 8% of Ohio’s adults fished, a legion of 1.7 million anglers, according to the survey. Ohio’s anglers combined to spend $5.5 billion last year and supported more than 34,000 jobs.

The most popular areas for anglers were Lake Erie and the Ohio River, with 37% of anglers taking at least one trip to Lake Erie to fish.


Last year, hunters generated $1.9 billion in spending and supported 12,000 jobs. Each of the state’s 500,000 hunters spent an average of $3,500 and approximately 5% of Ohioans older than 18 hunt.

White-tailed deer were the most popular game species, with 91% of hunters taking part. Firearms were used by 83% of hunters, a bow by 72% of the hunters and many used both.

Target Shooting

Around 20% of Ohioans participate in target shooting each year. In 2022 alone, 1.1 million target shooters spent $2.6 billion, supporting more than 22,000 jobs.

Outdoor shooting ranges were used by 71% of target shooters, and indoor ranges by 46%. In addition, 40% of target shooters visited the range for reasons other than preparing to hunt.

Hamilton, Franklin, Cuyahoga, Mahoning and Trumball counties are some of the most popular for target shooters.

Wildlife Viewing

Wildlife viewers poured $1.6 billion into Ohio’s economy in 2022 and supported 11,500 jobs. Most 91% of the 4.1 million viewers looked for birds.

Mammals, insects, reptiles and amphibians were also part of wildlife viewing. Additionally, wildlife viewers, a group that included photographers, were likely to stay near home, with a third of participants traveling fewer than 10 miles to enjoy their hobby.

“A third of wildlife viewers also relied exclusively on public land, emphasizing the importance of making these recreation areas accessible,” ODNR said.

View the complete outdoor recreation participation and economic impact study at

The Division of Wildlife manages or cooperatively manages more than 2 million acres of water and 750,000 acres of diverse wildlife areas, the release said. These habitats support popular game species such as deer, turkey and walleye as well as key species such as bald eagles and monarch butterflies.

Hunters, anglers and shooters support wildlife conservation with their purchases of licenses and permits and wildlife viewers can purchase the Ohio Wildlife Legacy Stamp to help declining species. License, permit and stamp sales fund the Division of Wildlife’s projects and programs that benefit wildlife and people.

“Ohio’s fish and wildlife resources are a tremendous asset to Ohio’s economy,” Division of Wildlife Chief Kendra Wecker said. “We have always appreciated the significant financial contributions of Ohio’s anglers, hunters, target shooters and birders. It is reassuring to see these benefits confirmed through the recent survey.”

Those looking to get involved in hunting, fishing, target shooting or wildlife viewing can visit or the Wild Ohio Harvest Community , which offers classes, online learning modules and more to help Ohioans get outside.

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