Next time you need some ammunition for arguing the pros of hunting and gun ownership, try using some these stats, which recently came across my desk in a new report from the Congressional Sportsman’s Foundation. The report spotlights the immense impact that sportsmen have on the national economy – 34 million sportsmen spending 76 billion dollars annually on their pastimes of hunting and fishing.

• Spending by hunters and anglers is more than the revenues of Microsoft, Google, eBay and Yahoo—combined! ($76 billion vs. $73.6 billion).

• More people hut and fish than watch the nightly newscasts of the three major networks—ABC, CBS, NBC. (34 million vs. 27 million)

• Hunters spend more on their activity than the total revenues of McDonald’s ($23 billion vs. $20 billion).

• All this spending adds up to support close to 600,000 jobs—more than the number of people employed by McDonald’s corporation.

• Hunters spend $2.4 billion on guns and rifles annually.

• Every year hunters and shooters pay millions in Federal excise taxes: $5.3 billion since 1939. In 2007 hunters and shooters paid $233 million in excise taxes. In fact they annually provide more than 80% of the funding for most state fish and wildlife agencies.

• Through Federal Duck Stamp purchases, hunters have generated more than $700 million, all of which goes in to the National Wildlife Refuge System. This money has been used to purchase more than 5 million acres of land for outdoor recreation and wildlife watching opportunities around the country.

• 80% of sportsmen consider themselves “likely voters”. 8 in 10 sportsmen state that a candidate’s position on sportsmen’s issues is important in determining whom they will vote for.

• 73% of Americans approve of hunting.

• Only 3% of Americans live the animal rights philosophy.

-Todd Smith