Study: Hunting, fishing contribute heavily to recreation’s economic boom in South Dakota

The South Dakota Game, Fish and Parks Department found that hunters spent more than $682.7 million from October 2015 to October 2016.

PIERRE, S.D. — Outdoor recreationists contributed more than $1.9 billion worth of economic activity in South Dakota between October 2015 and October 2016, according to a new study.

The study commissioned by the South Dakota Game, Fish and Parks Department said recreational activity supported nearly 18,400 jobs, generating more than $534 million worth of income to state residents and about $85.5 million in state and local tax revenue during the survey period.

The department found that hunters spent more than $682.7 million and anglers spent over $271.3 million. Trappers, wildlife viewers and boaters were also big spenders with a combined contribution of almost $140 million. The South Dakota study also found that state park visitation contributed almost $214 million to South Dakota’s economy in a one-year period.

“We were curious about these numbers,” said the department’s administration chief, Scott Simpson. “I don’t want to say we were surprised.”

The Capital Journal reported that marketing and analytics firm Southwick Associates conducted the study. More than 9,600 people were surveyed directly. Nearly 35 percent of people surveyed were South Dakota residents, while 65 percent were nonresidents.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service used to track the economic impact of outdoor recreation, but there were significant holes in its tracking, such as using small sample sizes and not including state park visitation.

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