Hunters and Anglers Essential Part of Economy

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Anglers and hunters spent $462 million in 2001 pursuing their pastimes. In doing so, they supported 9,600 jobs in the Sunflower State, according to figures from the Congressional Sportsmen's Foundation and the National Shooting Sports Foundation. The figures accompany a national report on the economic impacts of sportsmen.

On the national level, 38 million sportsmen age 16 and older spent more than $70 billion in 2001. That would rank hunters and anglers No. 11 on the Fortune 500 if they formed a corporation.

"Because so many sportsmen enjoy hunting and fishing alone or in a small groups in rural settings, they have often been overlooked as a constituency or as a substantial economic force," said Bob Mathews, Information and Education Section chief for the Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks.

"But sportsmen in Kansas annually pay $36 million in state sales, fuel, and income taxes. This could pay 1,039 teachers' annual salaries or fund 5,292 students' annual education expenses."

The new report, entitled The American Sportsmen: Take a Closer Look, takes the results from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's 2001 National Survey of Fishing, Hunting, and Wildlife-Associated Recreation and compares hunters' and anglers' impact on the economy with other industries. Although statistics in the report are impressive, they actually underestimate the impact of sportsmen because they do not take into account the millions of hunters and anglers younger than 16 who hunt or fish.

In Kansas, the report reveals, one of every five Kansas residents hunts or fishes, and annual expenditures by Kansas sportsmen equals 50 percent of the cash receipts from the state's wheat crop ($462 million vs. $920 million).

Hunters and shooters have been widely acknowledged for their role in conserving our wildlife and natural resources, but their impact on the economy is often overlooked. According to the report, hunters spend $2 billion just on food when they take hunting trips. Such statistics would be even larger if sport shooters were incorporated into the study's estimates.

The American Sportsmen: Take a Closer Look, with national statistics and an interactive map of state-specific information, may be viewed online at: www.sportsmenslink.org.