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Tuesday, February 7 • 3:40pm - 4:00pm
Technical Session. The Economic Benefits of Publicly Accessible Hunting Lands

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AUTHORS: Lindsey N. Messinger, Farmland Wildlife Populations and Research Group, Minnesota Department of Natural Resources; Michael T. Winkler, Pheasants Forever; Joseph J. Fontaine, U.S. Geological Survey, Nebraska Cooperative Fish & Wildlife Research Unit, University of Nebraska-Lincoln

ABSTRACT: Outdoor recreation is a multi-billion dollar industry in the United States with significant contributions to local, state, and federal economies and job markets. Quantifying the economic contribution of outdoor recreation lands is increasingly important to justify their continued support and preservation. While the economic benefits of outdoor recreationists on large, public and private areas like National Parks and ski resorts have increasingly been quantified, there is still little known about the economic contribution of smaller-scale public and private recreation lands such as public access hunting lands. Throughout the Great Plains, small wildlife management areas, waterfowl production areas, and private lands open to public use attract thousands of hunters annually.  However, quantifying the economic contribution of these hunters is challenging given how these properties are used and managed. Through in-person interviews of hunters in Nebraska, we gathered information about regional use of publicly accessible lands including trip length, travel distance, and lodging. By assigning economic value to these variables, we take a first step as quantifying the economic contribution and potential of small, publically accessible hunting lands. We found that hunting trips vary across distinct regions within Nebraska and by hunting season. With this information, local communities (especially rural communities) and wildlife managers may be better equipped to provide hunters with continued and additional resources, maximizing the economic benefits of public access hunting lands and providing justification for persistence.

Tuesday February 7, 2017 3:40pm - 4:00pm CST
Grand Ballroom E