This report provides a comprehensive analysis of hunter expenditures for big game and upland game hunting in Nevada in 2020. Big game hunting includes hunts for Rocky Mountain elk, mule deer, mountain goat, pronghorn antelope, bighorn sheep (Desert (Nelson), Rocky Mountain, California), and black bear. Upland game refers to birds including quail (California, Gambel’s, and Mountain), pheasant, chukar, Hungarian partridge, sage grouse, dusky grouse, sooty grouse, and ruffed grouse. This research was conducted in partnership with the Nevada Department of Wildlife (NDOW), who manages both big game and upland game hunting in Nevada.1 This report is the first comprehensive study of big game hunting-related expenditures, specifically for Nevada, since 1988 and is the first study ever of upland game hunting-related expenditures in Nevada.

The analysis combines administrative data from NDOW with data from two NDOW-administered email surveys to estimate (i) total big game hunting expenditures in Nevada in 2020, including expenditures on pre-hunting scouting trips, post-hunt expenditures, and expenditures by non-tag holding guests; (ii) total number of upland game hunting days in 2020; (iii) total upland game hunting expenditures in Nevada in 2020; (iv) total expenditure on large items purchased for hunting in Nevada in 2020 (e.g., firearms, off-highway vehicles). The analysis considers how hunting-related expenditures depend on the target animal’s species and class, differ between resident and nonresident hunters, and how big game hunting expenditures changed between 2019 and 2020 due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on hunting in Nevada. This report also includes hunter demographic information.

This report focuses on hunting-related expenditures at the state level; a companion report provides estimates of the total economic and fiscal impact of hunting for Nevada and its counties and explores opportunities to increase the share of total hunting-related expenditures captured by businesses in rural Nevada.

Main findings on hunter expenditures in Nevada include:

  • An estimated 469,970 big game effort days (includes hunting and scouting days of tag holders and guests) in Nevada in 2020 generated an estimated $79,034,898 in total expenditures in Nevada.
  • An estimated 209,110 upland game hunting days in Nevada in 2020 generated an estimated $39,119,115 in total expenditures in Nevada.
  • Total estimated expenditure on large items purchased for the main purpose of hunting in Nevada in 2020 is $263,295,263.

Additional significant findings include:

  • We find significant differences in total tag-related expenditures between big game species, ranging from $1,150 per tag for female antelope2 to over $6,000 per tag for antlered elk and over $9,000 per tag for bighorn sheep for Nevada resident hunters (see Section 1.1 for the definition of big game tag).
  • We find that while nonresident hunters spend more per tag than resident hunters, resident hunters have higher total spending per tag that takes place in Nevada. Nonresident hunters spend a significant amount before leaving their home state, while resident hunters make almost all their tag-related expenditures within Nevada.
  • We find that that the COVID-19 pandemic had no significant impact on big game hunting expenditures. The average number of hunting and scouting days stayed close to constant between in 2019 and 2020, while the average group size and expenditure on gear increased slightly in 2020.
Summary of Nevada Hunting Statistics, 2020
Statistic Big Game Hunting Upland Game Hunting All
Number of Hunters 67,485 39,982  
Number of Scouting Days 124,913 NA 124,913
Number of Hunting Days 345,057 209,110 554,167
Number of Effort Days 469,970 209,110 679,080
Total Tag or Trip Expenditure $84,583,605 $42,790,163 $127,373,767
Total Tag or Trip Expenditure in Nevada $79,034,898 $39,119,115 $118,154,013
Total Big-Ticket Expenditure in Nevada NA NA $263,295,263
Total Hunting Related
Expenditure in Nevada
$79,034,898 $39,119,115 $381,449,276
Note: The number of big game hunters is greater than the number of big game tags as it included tag holders and guests. Hunting days, scouting days, and effort days also include tag holders and guests. Total big-ticket expenditures in Nevada are adjusted to avoid double counting (see section 6 for details).

For the complete (65pg.) report including information on big game and general hunting, use the link below to download the PDF.

A Bowman, M. Taylor, B. Borden 2021, Hunter Expenditures NDOW Summary Report, Extension, University of Nevada, Reno

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Thomas Harris speaking to group of Nevada Economic Assessment Project Stakeholders at an update meeting

Nevada Economic Assessment Project (NEAP)

The Nevada Economic Assessment Project focuses on providing Nevada’s counties, state and federal agencies, and their partners with quantitative and qualitative baseline data and analyses to better understand the counties’ demographic, social, economic, fiscal and environmental characteristics, trends and impacts. The data can be used for land use and project planning, grant writing and overall policy assessment.