Bad Economy = More Hunters?

You know what they say about dark clouds and silver linings.

A new report that looks at trends in hunting license sales concludes that during tough times and economic downturns, more sportsmen may actually purchase hunting licenses and spend more time in the fields and forests than during a normal season.

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Could current economic hard times translate into good times for the hunting industry?

Though he points out that the impact is not the same in all 50 states, well-known outdoor data-cruncher Mark Damian Duda says that when the housing market is hard hit by economic woes, it often translates into more hunters afield. That’s because such a large percentage of hunters and sportsmen are employed in the building and construction trades.

Author and researcher Duda serves as the executive director of the Virginia-based Responsive Management, an internationally recognized public opinion and attitude survey research firm specializing in natural resource and outdoor recreation issues.

Duda told the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review in a recent interview that nearly one-quarter, or 22 percent, of all active American hunters are employed in the construction, carpentry, plumbing, electrical and craftsman trades. No other profession or group of professions produces as many hunters.

“There’s a very important statistical relationship between housing starts and license sales in states that saw an increase,” Duda said. “There’s something going on there.”

Simply put, a slow housing market provides potential hunters more time to spend in the woods hunting.

“Past surveys have shown that the number one reason people give for not hunting is lack of time, so if they’re not working, maybe they have that time,” Duda surmised.