Now its fair to say that hunting and fishing is sometimes a misunderstood activity. Its also reasonable to comment that many people don’t realize the economic impact to the State of Idaho and the many small rural towns across the state and country.
When I hear people criticize hunting and fishing, while at the same time watch them order a steak at a local restaurant or order fancy labeled meats at the local grocery store, my thoughts are confirmed.
Hunting and fishing means so much to so many people that it is hard to define. It is even harder to explain to people who have never hunted and fished or never really understand its importance. Hunting and fishing is both a lifestyle and a tradition. Its more than the morning mist, the thrill of a pursuit, the use of ones forest knowledge. Its primal and modern. It is raw cunning passed down from wood-wise veterans steeped in skill and interpretation of smallest details.
Hunting and fishing is more than anything, an opportunity to bond, to teach and to share. In an age of disconnected families and divorce, who could argue then with the value of a father teaching his son or daughter the respectful ways to hunt and fish with integrity and purpose, as well as proper use and care of a firearm, fly rod and cleaning ones own catch.
Idahos 259,000 hunters and anglers are among the most prominent and influential of all demographic groups, spending more than $598 million a year on hunting and fishing, according to a recent report. In Idaho, spending by hunters and anglers directly supports 11,500 jobs, which puts $324 million worth of paychecks into the pockets of working residents around the state. Spending by local sportsman in pursuit of these outdoor activities generates $70 million in state and local taxes. These latest figures show that season after season hunters and anglers are the driving force in the economy from big business to rural towns through both booms and recessions.
When spending by hunters and anglers is compared to that by other sectors, their impact on the states economy becomes more tangible. Sportsman support more jobs in Idaho than Micron Technology, one of the states largest employers: 11,500 jobs versus 10,000. Idaho sportsman outnumber the populations of Boise and Pocatello: 259,000 versus 246,533.
On a 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 Americas 20 largest, ahead of Target, Costco and AT&T. The economic stimulus of hunting and fishing equals and astounding 1.6 million a day being pumped into the states economy.
Spending by sportsman benefits not only manufactures of hunting and fishing related products, but everything from local mom and pop businesses to wildlife conservation. Because most hunting and fishing takes place in rural areas, much of the spending benefits less affluent parts of the state. When sportsman spending is thought in business terms and compared to other sectors of the economy, it is quite remarkable. From small rural towns scattered across our countrys landscape to the bottom line of fortune 500 companies located in major cities, taking away hunting and fishing removes the equivalent of a multi-billion dollar corporation.
As I sit here and think about my personal life as a hunter, angler and entrepreneur, my thoughts revolve around both the passionate side of hunting, fishing and the business side. Socially, culturally, and economically, hunting and fishing is part of who we are and contains all the good ingredients of what we need to be in the future.
B&B copyright 2009