You’ve no doubt heard anti-hunters proclaim that the number of hunters is decreasing. There’s no use sugar-coating it, our numbers are down, which is certainly a concern. But, a recent report issued by the Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation (Hunting and Fishing: Bright Stars of the American Economy) shows just how important sportsmen are to the national economy. Bottom line: last year 34 million hunters and anglers spent more than $76 billion on hunting and fishing. Sportsmen spent so much, in fact, that if we were a corporation, we’d rank in Top 20 on the Fortune 500. Big bucks, indeed.
Here’s a quick breakdown of what hunters spent last year:
Firearms: $2.4 billion
Optics: $203 million
Decoys and game calls: $187 million
Hunting apparel: $459 million
Ammo: $696 million
According to the CSF, if you break the total economic impact of the sportsman’s dollar down to a daily spending figure, the economic stimulus of hunting and fishing comes out to $208 million per day. This kind of spending keeps people working: not just in typical hunting and fishing jobs, either, but also in gas stations, retail, restaurants and hotels throughout the country. And the government benefits as well: sportsmen generate $25 billion in federal, state and local taxes. And we directly support 1.6 million jobs, more than twice the combined civilian payrolls of the Air Force, Army, Navy and Marine Corps.
Talk about buying power! We are truly an economic powerhouse. And that helps us in another arena as well. As U.S. Representative Ron Kind (D-WI), co-chair of the Congressional Sportsmen’s caucus, said, “This report clearly demonstrates the tremendous impact that sportsmen and women have on their communities, the economy, the environment, and even on politics. Their presence is too great to be ignored by policymakers in Washington, D.C., and I urge my colleagues in the House and Senate to look at this report and make sportsmen’s issues a priority.”
To view the report in full, go to Sportsmenslink.org.