California Department of Fish and Wildlife

Economic Contribution of Deer, Pronghorn Antelope, and Sage Grouse Hunting to Northeastern California and Implications to the Overall "Value" of Wildlife

Eric R. Loft
Wildlife Program,
California Department of Fish and Wildlife
1416 Ninth St.,
Sacramento, CA 95811

ABSTRACT: A postcard survey of mule deer, pronghorn antelope, and sage grouse hunters was conducted for northeastern California hunt areas (Lassen, Modoc, Plumas, Shasta, and Siskiyou counties) to determine the local expenditures for goods and services in 1997. The survey was also conducted to increase our understanding of hunter demographics and provide that information to local government officials and the public. This updated information can be used for planning purposes on the local economics of hunting three wildlife species that inhabit the region. This valuation would be additive to the value of all other species that are either hunted, viewed, or otherwise enjoyed by the public. Fifty-three percent of the 9,981 northeastern California hunters were surveyed, and 42 percent responded. Hunting of mule deer, pronghorn antelope, and sage grouse resulted in an estimated $2.26 million in expenditures in northeastern California during 1997. Almost $1 million was spent in Lassen County, and about $600,000 was spent in Modoc County. Vehicle-related expenses, mostly fuel, comprised the greatest expense. Grocery expenditures were second followed by dining at restaurants, supplies related to hunting/camping, expenses for lodging, other local costs such as taxidermy/meat processing, private land access fees, and costs to hunt/fish for other species, respectively. The added economic value locally for each additional hunting opportunity (tag or permit) issued was estimated to be about $223, $264, $431, and $91 for general season deer, archery/muzzleloader deer, pronghorn antelope, and sage grouse, respectively. Sage grouse hunters spent an average of $91 during their two day season. In total, deer hunters accounted for an estimated $2.1 million in local expenditures, antelope hunters $204,000, and sage grouse hunters $37,000. Few deer hunters (<5 percent of total) were from southern California, while about 15 percent of pronghorn antelope hunters traveled from the south state for the rare opportunity to hunt the species in California. Of three categories of hunters, those traveling from distant areas such as Sacramento and the Bay Area had the highest local expenses. They were followed by hunters living within the hunt areas (locals), and hunters from adjacent counties and areas, respectively. Local, or resident hunters, had the highest average hunter success. An assessment comparing the economic contribution of deer hunting in 1997 to a previous survey in 1987 was conducted. Results indicated that expenditures (not adjusted for inflation) in Lassen, Modoc, and Plumas counties have dropped significantly from $5.4, $4.7, and $0.76 million, respectively in 1987, to $0.83, $0.55, and $0.17 million, respectively in 1997. The survey results presented here can be used by local, state, and federal planning officials to demonstrate a minimum value of hunting these species, and are additive to the total value of wildlife in the area. Improvement of wildlife habitat on a large scale is needed to reverse the long-term declines in populations of mule deer. Livestock grazing, timber management, and fire management are three of the primary factors affecting deer habitats.

California Wildlife Conservation Bulletin No. 11, 1998. 42 p.

BacK to California Wildlife Conservation Bulletin No. 11 (1998)