When it comes to the number of people who take part in target shooting in Ohio, Mahoning and Trumbull Counties are right up there with the state’s more populous areas, according to a newly released study.

A new survey out this week reveals that 1.1 million target shooters spent $2.6 billion in Ohio last year and gun owners here in the Valley are among the biggest participants.

A report from the Wildlife Management Institute, Responsive Management, and Southwick Associates showed that the top Ohio counties for sport shooting are Hamilton, Franklin, Trumbull, Mahoning, and Cuyahoga Counties.

 The study found that sport shooting, also known as target shooting, supports more than 22,000 jobs in the state, with around 20% of Ohioans participating in target shooting each year.

Outdoor shooting ranges were used by 71% of target shooters, and indoor ranges by 46%. Forty percent of target shooters surveyed said they visited the range for reasons other than preparing to hunt.

The study was conducted for the Division of Wildlife and surveyed Ohio residents to gauge their participation in outdoor recreation such as hunting, sport shooting, fishing, and wildlife viewing, and the economic impact of those activities.

Participants spent an average of more than 20 days sport shooting, with 60% of target shooters using handguns.

More than one-third used rifles or shotguns for sport shooting.  More than one-fourth engaged in target practice using AR-style rifles.  One-fifth of those surveyed practiced with archery equipment.

Seventy-one percent of the sports shooters surveyed used an outdoor range. Forty-five percent had also used an indoor range.

Forty percent of the sport shooters reported some shooting separate from hunting or preparing to hunt.

Sport Shooting Locations

Nearly a third of shooters travel less than 10 miles to shoot.

Eighty-five percent of the shooters surveyed shoot on private land, with half of that number doing so exclusively, compared to 46% who shoot on public land.

At least 40% of sport shooters bought used equipment, and at least 38% made equipment purchases online.

In a follow-up question asked of residents who went sport shooting in Ohio in 2022, 76% shot a handgun, 53% shot a rifle, and 44% shot a shotgun.

The study estimates that the average sports shooter spent $2,442 in 2022.

The survey found that people who had gone shooting or spent money on shooting equipment also visited local parks, hiked, and went fishing or camping as well.