The Fayette Tribune, Oak Hill, W.Va.

February 27, 2013

Sportsmen have big impact on state economy

WASHINGTON, D.C. — The 447,000 people that hunt or fish in West Virginia have a tremendous impact on the state’s economy, a survey says.

In 2011, these outdoorsmen and women spent $870 million with a ripple effect of $1.18 billion, and supported 12,585 jobs in the state. New data released recently by the Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation (CSF) documents the importance of sportsmen and women’s activities in West Virginia and across the nation. The state fact sheets follow the release of CSF’s national report, America’s Sporting Heritage, Fueling the American Economy, that was released in mid-January.

“Many people may not fully comprehend how important hunting and fishing are to the fabric of this country. Yet nationally there are more people who hunt or fish than go bowling, and their spending would land them at #24 on the Fortune 500 list,” said Jeff Crane, president of the Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation. “Sportsmen and women spent $870 million on hunting and fishing in West Virginia in 2011, more than the combined receipts for all agricultural commodities produced in the state that year ($870 million vs. $564 million).”

Intended to provide a series of “sound bites” that resonate within the outdoor community as well as the general public, the CSF data spotlights some of the most compelling information about hunters and anglers in every state. For example, 447,000 people (resident and non-resident) hunted or fished in West Virginia in 2011, more than the population in the state’s largest Metropolitan Statistical Area (447,000 vs. 304,000). Hunters and anglers supported 12,600 jobs in West Virginia in 2011, nearly twice the number of people employed by the Ruby Day Surgery Center, the state’s largest employer (12,600 vs. 6,700), the report said.

Nationwide, the impact is even more impressive. There are more than 37 million hunters and anglers age 16 and up in this country — about the same as the population of the entire state of California. These sportsmen and women spent $90 billion on hunting and fishing in the United States in 2011, which is comparable to the combined global sales of Apple’s iPad® and iPhone® 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 2011.

Beyond the impact to businesses and local economies, sportsmen and women are the leaders in conserving fish and wildlife and their habitats. When you combine 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 in 2011 — that is over $95 every second. This does not include their own habitat acquisition and restoration work for lands owned or leased for the purpose of hunting and fishing, which would add significantly more to the mix.

The base data for the Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation report and state fact sheets comes from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s 2011 National Survey of Fishing, Hunting and Wildlife Associated Recreation. From this base data, CSF and its partners the National Shooting Sports Foundation and the American Sportfishing Association commissioned Southwick Associates to develop detailed reports on the hunting and fishing industries, respectively. These reports provide the information that CSF uses in their comparisons to other industries and activities that may be more recognizable to the general public. The CSF report and state information for all 50 states are available on the CSF website.