Americans must Respect Hunters and Anglers
National Hunting and Fishing Day is
Saturday, September 25, 2010 and celebrated in all states. Congress formalized the annual celebration
38 years ago. Organizers say that hunters and anglers deserve America’s respect now more than ever.
Denise Wagner, of Wonders of Wildlife Museum in Springfield, Mo., the official home of National Hunting and Fishing Day, said, “Recent-year surveys show nearly eight in ten Americans approve of hunting and more than nine in ten approve of fishing. That’s strong support. But, when viewed in the context of a recession and other modern headlines, our sporting traditions look even better today.” She added, “On National Hunting and Fishing Day, I hope that people will pause to reflect on the hunter and angler contributions to society. And for those of us who have long understood and enjoyed these passions, share the pride by introducing someone new to hunting and fishing or shooting.”
Here are three reasons for the American public to value Hunting and Fishing today:
Impact: Hunting and angling together are an economic force worth $76 billion a year. In 2010, America’s economic stimulus package will generate its highest level of federal spending at $236 billion. But, hunters and anglers will spend almost a third of that amount all by themselves. A Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation report shows if hunters and anglers were a nation, their gross domestic product would rank 57 out of 181 countries. About 1.6 million jobs depend on hunters and anglers. Gas stations, stores, restaurants, hotels and other businesses benefit, especially in rural America. And, these recreations are comparatively recession proof. In the first half of 2009, hunting and fishing license sales actually gained 7.6 and 5.4 percent, respectively, over 2008, according to the National Shooting Sports Foundation and Recreational Boating and Fishing Foundation.
Management: Rabies, crop damages, nuisances, etc. Hunting helps control these wildlife issues and many others - none more dramatic than highway accidents involving deer and moose. White-tailed deer once were on the verge of extinction, but rebounded behind historic Conservation efforts. Today, deer numbers are skyrocketing. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety estimates 1.5 million deer collisions occur each year. Over 200 people are killed annually. According to a Western Transportation Institute calculation that includes costs of emergency response, injuries to driver and passengers, damages to the vehicle and more, the 2009 average cost of hitting a deer is $6,600 The total public cost: $9.9 billion a year. Now consider that, nationwide, for every deer hit by a motorist, hunters take six. Imagine the human casualties and costs if hunting ended.
Funding: What if Congress announced a tax increase to cover $2 billion in annual expenses for conservation programs? Not to worry. Hunters and anglers are already paying that tab. For the privilege of consuming surplus, renewable game and fish resources, hunters and anglers purchase licenses. They also pay special excise taxes on firearms, ammunition, bows, arrows, rods and reels. Combined, these fees generate $100,000 every 30 minutes, more than $1.75 billion per year, for wildlife, fisheries and habitat programs. Hunters and anglers also contribute another $300 million a year to nonprofit organizations that extend conservation benefits even further. The results have brought many species - turkey, elk, pronghorn, Canada goose, wood duck and others, and their habitats from vanishing to flourishing. These efforts also enabled restoration of other species such as wolves. America’s living landscape is a precious asset for all citizens who enjoy wildlife and wild places.
- More than 44 million Americans six years of age and older enjoy fishing every year.
- The average angler spends $1,046 every year on the sport.
- Americans fish 557 million days per year.
- More than 38 million Americans hunt and fish.
- Over one quarter of all anglers are females.
- Hunters and anglers support more jobs nationwide than the number of people employed by Wal-Mart
- Through license sales and excise taxes on equipment, hunters and anglers pay for most fish and wildlife conservation programs.
- Anglers and boaters have paid $3.6 billion in excise taxes since
- Recreational anglers spend a staggering $41.5 billion a year to fish. This has tremendous economic impacts.
- Anglers spend almost $300 million a year just on ice.
- Anglers spend more than $1 billion a year bait alone
The contributions, in the form of excise taxes paid on sporting firearms, ammunition and archery equipment, benefit every state and have generated approximately $5.6 billion for wildlife conservation since 1939. The contribution for 2009 is a record, nearly $336 million, according to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, which recently announced the Wildlife Restoration apportionment.
- An average hunter spends $1,638 every year on the sport.
- Teenage girls are the fastest growing market in sport shooting.
- According to research, 72 percent more women are hunting with firearms today compared to
just five years ago. And 50 percent more women are now target shooting.
- Americans hunt 228 million days per year.
- More than 38 million Americans hunt and fish.
- Hunters and shooters have paid more than $5 billion in excise taxes since 1939.
- More Americans hunt and shoot than play golf.
- Firearms are involved in less than 1% of all fatalities. More Americans are killed in accidents involving vending machines than guns.
- Hunting gear sales are growing faster than all other sporting goods categories.
- Americans annually buy 1.1 billion
- Non-resident licenses, tags stamp and permit sales have risen 41.2 percent since 1993.
- Top selling sporting goods: 1. exercise equipment, 2. golf gear, 3. Hunting gear.
The sources for these facts are from: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, 2001 National Survey of Fishing, Hunting, and Wildlife-Associated Recreation and the National Shooting Sports Foundation.
Bob Harris can be
reached via e-mail at:
Columns by Bob Harris
DISCLAIMER: The opinions
expressed by Mr. Harris are not necessarily those of the
Goffstown Residents Association or its members
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