There are folks out there that think hunting and fishing isn't that big of a deal when it comes to the U.S. and states economy.
Some believe that the outdoors, fishing and hunting is something a few folks do in South Dakota, Minnesota, Iowa and Nebraska, and that it doesn’t generate much revenue, when in fact, the excise tax they pay on their gear, their purchases of state/federal taxes collected and jobs created by outdoorsmen and women in all states is BIG!
Established in 1937, Federal Aid in Wildlife Restoration Act was passed, placing a special excise tax on firearms and ammunition which would be shared among state wildlife agencies to be used in supporting conservation efforts. the Pittman-Robertson Wildlife Restoration Act along with theDingell-Johnson Sport Fish Restoration programs which placed an excise tax on the angler’s equipment which was established in 1950, with funds available to all 50 states and territories is the key source of funds for fish and wildlife management, species and habitat restoration, habitat protection, land acquisition, scientific study, population monitoring, hunter and aquatic education, and access for hunting, fishing and boating.
Revenues come from excise taxes generated by the sale of sporting firearms, ammunition, archery equipment, fishing equipment and tackle, and electric outboard motors.
Recreational boaters also contribute to the program through fuel taxes on motorboats and small engines.
Hunters and fisherman pay an11% excise tax on firearms and ammunition, 10% on handguns, 11% on other firearms, 11% on antique firearms, 11% on archery equipment, 11% per shaft on arrows and 10% on sport fishing equipment.
The money generated by the tax is given to the Secretary of the Interior to distribute to the states.
Then the federal excise tax and state licenses paid by hunters and anglers, allows the states to own 15.5 Million acres of habitat throughout the United Sates.
Our sportsmen and sportswomen generate nearly $1 Billion dollars, distributing more than $22.9 Billion in apportionments for state conservation and recreation projects. Those states wildlife agencies receiving these funds, must match these funds.
Because of the excise tax and license fees paid by the 44 Million outdoorsmen and women have paid, we have larger populations of several species of wildlife today than when our grandfathers arrived in Iowa, Minnesota, Nebraska, and South Dakota.
Populations of Deer, Wild Turkeys, Canada Geese, Snow Geese and Wood Ducks are now at all-time highs.
The reason for this is simple, the individuals that hunt and fish have dug deep into their pockets to help wildlife and create habitat.
Since its inception, the Federal Aid in Wildlife Restoration Act inception in 1937, hunters have contributed over $7.2 Billion to state conservation efforts and with the way current firearm and ammunition sales are going, hunters now contribute over $371 Million annually.
Reports show more than $882.4 Million in excise tax revenues were generated by sportsmen and sportswomen through the Pittman-Robertson Wildlife Restoration and Dingell-Johnson Sport Fish Restoration programs.
The funding doesn’t end there, add in the 1.1 Billion spent on licenses, tags, stamps and permits which go directly to the state's wildlife agency, along with the $440 Million in annual contributions donated directly to Ducks Unlimited, Pheasant’s Forever, Whitetails Unlimited, Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation and the National Wild Turkey Federation hunters contribute over $1.6 Billion annually to conservation.
Records indicate that 44 Billion hunters and anglers together spend 76 Billion dollars which benefit State Wildlife Agencies.
That's a lot of dollars along with the 1.6 Million jobs created, helping people to pay their bills, injecting dollars into the community and the area, creating a huge snowball effect.
The dollars hunters and anglers pay creates a ripple effect, not just your typical hunting and fishing jobs as they also spend dollars at gas stations, retail stores, restaurants, and hotels.
Studies show that the spending by hunters and anglers is more than the combined revenue of both Google and Yahoo. (76 Billion vs 70.6 Billion)
Nationally there’re more people who hunt or fish than go bowling, and their spending would land them at number twenty-fourth on the Fortune 500 list," according to Jeff Crane, President of the Congressional Sportsmen's Foundation.
In South Dakota, sportsmen and women, those spending time in the outdoors spent $1.04 billion on hunting and fishing in the state, which is more than the receipts for wheat, one of the state's highest grossing agricultural commodities ($1.04 billion vs. $858 million)."
The CSF data spotlights some of the most compelling information about hunters and anglers in every state.
Those resident as well as non-residents who hunted or fished in South Dakota, recent studies, showed that there are more people hunting and fishing than the combined population in the state's top three metropolitan statistical areas - Sioux Falls, Rapid City and Aberdeen (430,000 vs. 402,000).
Most importantly, hunters and anglers support more jobs in South Dakota than the combined employment of Sanford Health and Avera McKennan Hospital, the state's two largest employers (14,780 vs. 13,963 combined employees).
Nationwide, the impact is even more impressive. There’re more than 44 million hunters and anglers in this country, about the same as the population of the entire state of California.
Recent studies indicate that these sportsmen and women spent $90 Billion on hunting and fishing in the United States, which is comparable to the combined global sales of Apple's iPad® and iPhone® during that year.
In difficult economic times, it is important to note that both participation and spending by people who hunt and fish went up in 2020.
Beyond the impact to businesses and local economies, sportsmen and women are the leaders in conserving fish and wildlife and their habitat.
Combining license and stamp fees, motorboat fuels, excise taxes on hunting and fishing equipment and membership contributions to conservation organizations, hunters and anglers directed $3 billion towards on-the-ground conservation and restoration efforts, that’s over $95 every second. It doesn’t include their own habitat acquisition and restoration work for lands owned or leased for the purpose of hunting and fishing, which would add another $11 Billion to the number.
The animal rights groups are vocal about being wildlife advocates, they can’t argue with the facts that hunters and fisherman are devoted to wildlife, donating more to wildlife conservation programs, the restoration of habitat and preservation that any other group.
Without sportsmen and sportswomen, most wildlife management and conservation would perish as well as many species of wildlife.
The dollars generated by hunters and fisherman, bring big bucks into our economy, supporting our Wildlife Agencies, generating tax dollars and creating much needed habitat, giving both hunters and non-hunters the opportunity to enjoy our wild places.
Gary Howey, Hartington, Nebraska is an award-winning writer, producer, broadcaster, former tournament angler, fishing and hunting guide and in 2017 inducted into the "National Freshwater Fishing Hall of Fame”.
He developed and was the Producer-Host for 23 years of his award winning gary Howey’s Outdoorsmen Adventures television series. He’s the Host of the award-winning Outdoor Adventures radio program carried on Classic Hits 106.3, ESPN Sports Radio 1570 in Southeastern South Dakota, KWYR Country 93 AM and Magic 93 FM in Central South Dakota, As well as on KCHE 92.1 FM in Northwest Iowa. If you’re looking for more outdoor information, check out www.GaryHowey'soutdoors.com , and www.outdoorsmenadventures.com, with more information on these Facebook pages, Gary Howey, Gary E Howey, Outdoor Adventure Radio, Outdoorsmen Productions and Team Outdoorsmen Productions. The Outdoor Adventures television show is available on numerous Independent markets, and the MIDCO Sports Network.