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The Great Outdoors Greatly Impacts the Economy

Do you know the annual economic impact that outdoor recreation has in Nebraska? Like my Game and Parks cohort, Cara Pesek, I expected the number to be big, but it’s bigger than we both thought — $2.4 billion annually! WOW! Hunting has an $848 million impact annually, fishing has a $324 million impact
annually, wildlife viewing has a $722 million impact annually and state parks have a $749 million impact annually. In this state, the great outdoors greatly impacts the Nebraska economy.


Okay, all that being stated. You know me to be a realist. So, I decided to see how much money I was putting into the local economy with regard to a one-day Canada goose hunting trip I took yesterday from Omaha to near Valley, NE. Now, I had already purchased the required permit and stamps for waterfowl hunting, that’s a given, and I’m not even adding those to this mix!

Here we go.

The prior night I drove from our Omaha Metcalfe Park Neighborhood home to Cabela’s in La Vista to buy shotgun shells (and to look around, of course, HA!). Approximate gas cost with the purchase of shells =  $32.00.



After the Cabela’s excursion, it was over to see Jim Druliner at Sillosocks Decoy headquarters in mid-town Omaha to buy a few more windsock decoys (you can never have enough decoys for waterfowl hunting, can you?). Approximate cost of gas and decoys = $45.00.



Then, the next day (yesterday) there was a gas fill for the old Wagner pick ’em up truck at Howell’s Amoco in Omaha’s Benson area and to say “hello” to Anne, Gary and the crew. Cost with gas, soda and snacks = $43.00.




Looking around the goose hunting blind, I’m seeing  more money that was (past tense) contributed to the economy. How many items do you recognize?


Goose harvested, see it in the foreground?


Sunset. Time to put away decoys, clean up the blind, grab the goose and head home.


On the way back in to Omaha, I made a quick pit stop here for a bottle of water and a couple of granola bars = $5.00.


After arriving home and plucking the goose, it was time to cook the wild game bird. Rough cost of cooking materials used bought from a local grocery store = $7.00.


Total contributed to the Nebraska economy on this hunt = $132.00.

Keep in mind, this is just ONE trip made locally to the great outdoors to do some hunting! When you stop and think about all of the costs involved or associated with any outdoor activity, they add up quickly, especially taking an outdoor trip that requires an overnight stay.


You’ll find those dollars related to outdoor recreation being turned over in the community numerous times and in more places than you expected! The bottom line: Nebraska’s great outdoors translates to great impact to our economy!

Oops! Forgot to add in the bag of dog treats for our waterfowl hunting dog – Buddy = $10.00.



About Greg Wagner

A native of Gretna, NE, a graduate of Gretna High School and Bellevue University, Greg Wagner currently serves as the Public Information Officer and Manager for the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission's Service Center in Omaha. On a weekly basis, Wagner can be heard on a number of radio stations, seen on local television in Omaha, and on social media sites, creatively conveying natural resource conservation messages as well as promoting outdoor activities and destinations in Nebraska. Wagner, whose career at Game and Parks began in 1979, walks, talks, lives, breathes and blogs about Nebraska’s outdoors. He grew up in rural Gretna, building forts in the woods, hunting, fishing, collecting leaves, and generally thriving on constant outdoor activity. One of the primary goals of his blog is to get people, especially young ones, to have fun and spend time outside!


  1. I look forward to a presentation or two or more about wildlife viewing when nothing was killed as a result. The many trumpeter swans present at Carter Lake are a perfect situation of this sort where there are associated economic benefits.

    Wags certainly made sure to spend lots of dollars on trivial things, to make sure he could be dramatic in the money spent to kill geese. Many people would love to have only a portion of the dollars indicated, just so they could buy some groceries.

    • Hi Jim,

      Thanks for the feedback. Whether it’s positive or negative, I do always appreciate it!

      So you know, I am working on posting a blog soon where no game animal or bird was killed, nor a shot fired on a hunt. Stay tuned! You are correct in saying that there are associated economic benefits to wildlife viewing (mentioned in my blog post), such as going to see the beautiful trumpeter swans at Carter Lake. By the way, I did not spend money on trivial things (they may be trivial in your book) and did not over-dramatize the money spent to hunt Canada geese! I am a longtime hunter and merely gave a snapshot of what the average sportsman/woman might spend on a short hunting trip. I work hard for my money, Jim, and choose to spend it where I want in this free country of ours! I spend my leisure-time dollars supporting the Nebraska economy and conservation. Also, for the record, I donate much wild game harvested to those in-need.

      Thanks for reading the blog!

      “Wags” — Greg Wagner

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