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Report outlines economic impact of hunters, anglers

Staff report • Dec 23, 2007 at 12:00 AM

The economic impact of hunting is huge, according to a new report that places Tennessee and Virginia in or near the top 20 in total number of sportsmen in their total spending.

Tennessee’s 775,000 hunters and anglers spent more than $1.3 billion a year on hunting and fishing, according to the report.

Virginia’s hunters and anglers also spent more more than $1.3 million a year, according to the report.

“Hunting and Fishing: Bright Stars of the American Economy — A force as big as all outdoors,” spotlights the immense impact hunters and anglers have on the economy at the national and state level.

The report was produced by the Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation with support from the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers, National Marine Manufacturers Association, National Shooting Sports Foundation and SCI — First For Hunters.

In Tennessee, spending by hunters and anglers directly supports 22,500 jobs, which puts $658 million worth of paychecks into pockets of working residents around the state. Government coffers also benefit since spending by sportsmen in pursuit of these outdoor activities generates $110 million in state and local taxes.

Tennessee ranked 16 in resident sportsmen, and Virginia, with 857,000, ranked 14th. In total spending, Virginia ranked 20th and Tennessee 22nd. Texas was No. 1 with $2.6 million, followed by Florida with $2 million and California with $1.7 million.

In Tennessee:

•Sportsmen support more jobs in Tennessee than the Decherd Nissan Assembly Plant, Parkway Southside, Saturn Corp. and Gaylord Opryland combined (22,500 jobs versus 22,200).

•Annual spending by sportsmen is greater than the combined revenues of Emdeon Business Services, Spheris and Video Gaming Technologies ($1.3 billion versus $1.1 billion).

•Sportsmen in Tennessee annually spend more than the cash receipts for cattle, broilers and cotton — the state’s top three agricultural commodities ($1.3 billion versus $1.2 billion).

•Sportsmen spend $139 million annually on outboard boats and engines to get out on the water and around the marshes for fishing and hunting.

•More people hunt and fish than attend Tennessee Titans football games (775,000 versus 553,000).

•The economic stimulus of hunting and fishing equates to an astounding $3.5 million a day being pumped into the state’s economy.

In Virginia:

•Sportsmen support more jobs than Northrop Grumman in Newport News and Virginia Tech University combined (24,000 jobs versus 23,000).

•Annual spending by sportsmen is more than the combined revenues of Southside Oil, Uppy’s Convenience Stores, Apex Systems, and Lumber Liquidators — the state’s four fastest growing companies grossing over $100 million ($1.3 billion versus $932 million).

•Sportsmen spend more than the combined cash receipts from broilers, cattle and dairy products — the state’s top three agricultural commodities ($1.3 billion versus $1.2 billion).

•Sportsmen annually spend $175 million on outboard boats and engines to get out on the water and around the marshes for fishing and hunting.

•Sportsmen could fill both Richmond International Raceway and Martinsville Speedway nearly five times (857,000 versus 177,000).

The figures, according to a news release, demonstrate that season after season hunters and anglers are driving the economy from big businesses to rural towns, through booms and recessions.

“Because sportsmen enjoy hunting or fishing alone or in small groups, they are overlooked as a constituency and as a substantial economic force,” said Jeff Crane, president of the Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation. “When you compare spending by hunters and anglers to other sectors, their impact on the state’s economy becomes more tangible.”

“Spending by sportsmen benefits not only the manufacturers of hunting and fishing related products, but everything from local mom-and-pop businesses to wildlife conservation,” said Doug Painter, president of National Shooting Sports Foundation. “And because most hunting and fishing takes place in rural areas, much of the spending benefits less affluent parts of the state.”

On the national level, 34 million sportsmen age 16 and older spent more than $76 billion in 2006, supporting 1.6 million jobs. If a single corporation grossed as much as hunters and anglers spend, it would be among America’s 20 largest.

The report uses the results from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s 2006 National Survey of Fishing, Hunting and Wildlife-Associated Recreation and statistics provided by the American Sportfishing Association and Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies.

For more information go to www.sportsmenslink.org and www.nssf.org.

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