If hunters and anglers formed a corporation, it would rank number 11 among the nation’s largest companies.
Nationwide, 38 million sportsmen and women age 16 and older spent more than $70 billion dollars in 2001 in their pursuits. This is according to a new report on the economic impacts of sports-minded men and women published by the National Shooting Sports Foundation, an organization promoting the interests of the firearm and shooting sports industry, and the Congressional Sportsmen's Foundation, a group presenting the interest of sportsmen to Congress.
Here in Montana, more than half a million anglers and hunters spent more than $550 million on recreation in Montana last year—supporting the jobs of more than 12,000 Montanans. This means, Montana's sportsmen and women not only spend time in the outdoors, but equally important, they spend lots of money doing it.
The economic comparisons in the report show:
· more jobs are supported by sportsmen and women nationwide than the number of people employed by Wal-Mart—the country's largest corporation.
· if all sportsmen and women had voted in the 2000 presidential election, they would have equaled 36 percent of the entire vote.
· sportsmen and women could fill every NFL and Major League Baseball stadium as well as every NASCAR track six times over.
· hunters spend as much on gear each year as Americans spend on Nike shoes and apparel.
· five million more Americans fish than golf.
· more jobs are supported by anglers than the number of people employed by GM, Ford, and Exxon-Mobil combined.
· sport fishing generates nine times more revenue than commercial fishing.
· sportsmen and women contribute $54 every second to conservation, $3,240 every minute, $194,400 every hour, $4.7 million every day, adding up to a $1.7 billion contribution every year.
· sportsmen and women's dollars make up 65 percent of all state fish and wildlife agency budgets through license sales and excise taxes on gear, which helps protect our natural environment and fish and wildlife for the enjoyment of all Americans.
This report, "The American Sportsmen—Take a Closer Look," draws on data from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's "2001 National Survey of Fishing, Hunting and Wildlife Associated Recreation" to compare hunters' and anglers' impact on the economy with that of other industries.
By any measure, these statistics are impressive. Hunters and anglers are a national economic powerhouse and very big business in Montana. Sportsmen and women support thousands of jobs in small businesses and communities scattered across our state from Libby to Ekalaka and from Plentywood to Darby. They buy food, gas, outdoor gear, hunting gear, 4-wheel drive vehicles, airline tickets, hotel and motel rooms, rent cars and the list goes on and on.
"It is a fairly simple equation – hunters and anglers mean jobs in states and local communities that have made the effort to maintain their hunting and fishing opportunities," commented Melinda Gable, Executive Director of the Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation.
So, next time you admire a hunter's trophy buck or an angler's catch, also think about the economic benefit of these recreational activities to our communities large and small across the state, as well as the contribution to conservation that these hunters and anglers are making. All in all, it's a pretty impressive harvest for Montana.
The American Sportsmen ~ Take a Closer Look with national statistics and an interactive map of state-specific information is available on the web at: www.sportsmenslink.org.