Hunting Increases, Impacts Economy
Hunting is increasing. In recent years, the industry has seen modest increases in hunting, after years of decline, or at best, flat numbers. And as in most consumer categories, “flat numbers” translate to decline, as participants age-out.
Now, there is encouraging evidence that hunting is really increasing. Yes, the percentage of increase is not notable, but it’s there. And more women are hunting.
The increase in women hunters has gained the attention of mainstream media. In November, Fox News reported the number of women hunting increased 25 percent from 2006 to 2011. The network was reporting on the November National Geographic online article, “More Women Give Hunting A Shot,” which cited U.S. Census Bureau data that, while the majority of the 13.7 million U.S. hunters are men, 11 percent are women.
National Geographic explored why women have taken to hunting, including the alternative to grocery stores. “That lets women provide truly free-range and organic meat for their families, while helping to create a more sustainable food system,” says Lily Raff McCaulou, author of Call of the Mild: Learning to Hunt My Own Dinner.
To read the National Geographic article, visit www.nationalgeographic.com, search “Women Hunters.”
In recent years, personal-defense has dominated much of the topic in and out of the industry. However, hunting is still the engine that drives much of the industry’s economic health.
NSSF recently released its 2013 edition of “A Profile of Today’s Hunter.” It provides extensive data to help everyone in the industry better understand this market segment, and to have readily at hand proof of the economic impact hunting has both nationally, and at a state level.
It also outlines the significant contribution hunters make to conservation. For example: For the most recent year available, 2011, NSSF reports hunters spent $790 million on license fees.
“The gross cost to hunters for license, tag, permit and stamp fees represent the largest portion of the sportsman’s contribution to conservation,” NSSF reports, citing the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s “National Hunting License Report.”
In hunting expenditures (firearms, equipment, travel, etc), NSSF reports hunters spent $38.3 billion in 2011, as compared to $22.9 billion in 2006, a 67 percent increase. In addition, hunters generated $11.8 billion in federal, state and local tax revenues in 2011. During that year, hunters supported 680,937 jobs with their expenditures and activities, and produced $26.4 billion in salaries, wages and business owner income.
This type of economic impact is a key factor in countering the anti-gun movement. If you want to gain the attention of national and state legislators, present an economic impact report. As an example, the Vermont Fish & Wildlife Department reported in November, “hunters contribute significantly to the state’s economy and spend more than $292 million in Vermont annually.”
“More than $39 million is spent on travel, such as dining, lodging, transportation and similar expenses. Another $190 million is spent on equipment, and more than $62 million is spent on other items,” said Patrick Berry, Vermont Fish and Wildlife commissioner.
While the increase in hunting — and its impact — is encouraging, there is more to be done, according to NSSF.
“It is vital for the firearms and ammunition industry to work together with state department of fish and game agencies to recruit new and retain existing hunters,” an NSSF official says in the report.
To download the Industry Intelligence Report, “A Profile of Today’s Hunter,” visit www.nssf.org/research.
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By Russ Thurman
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