By the Numbers: $20 Billion For Conservation

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posted on September 6, 2018
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The numbers for 2016 are in, and the message is clear: American hunters, target shooters and fishers are doing their part for the economy...and for conservation. In fact, they're doing a lot more than their part. According to a new report by Southwick Associates, more than 53 million Americans (that's one out of every six) consider themselves sportsmen and women. All those people spend a lot of money; 2016 alone saw more than $93.5 billion consumer dollars spent on gear, licenses, travel, clothing, gas and more. The impact is twofold. First, there are the jobs and wages.  Expenditures made for hunting, target shooting and sportfishing gear and services in 2016 supported 1.6 million jobs and provided $72 billion in salaries and wages.

Then there's the tax angle. These monies also generated nearly $20 billion in local, state and federal taxes, much of which benefits vital conservation and educational programs that improve our outdoor areas for all who enjoy them and make hunting and shooting safer activities.

“Hunting, angling and the shooting sports continue to be a critical and significant contributor to the nation’s economy, and to the conservation of our nation’s natural resources through the American System of Conservation Funding,” said Congressional Sportsmen's Foundation (CSF) President Jeff Crane. “CSF looks forward to continuing to work with our partners and policy-makers to enhance our outdoor sporting traditions through federal and state policies.”

“If hunting, fishing and target shooting were a corporation, it would rank #25 on the Fortune 500, ahead of Microsoft,” says Rob Southwick, president of Southwick Associates. “While time spent outside may come across as something to do after the real work day is done, in reality hunting, fishing and target shooting is a critical industry, generating jobs and income for thousands of communities across the country.”

Key highlights of the reports include:

  • Each year, 35.8 million people 16 years and older take to America’s waters to fish.
  • More than 28 million people over 16 years old took to our nation’s public and private lands and waters and gun ranges to hunt and target shoot in 2016.
  • The number of people who participate in sportfishing, hunting and target shooting represents 16.5 percent of the total U.S. population.
  • When factoring in multiplier effects, spending by sportsmen created economic activity in excess of $220 billion.
  • Hunting, fishing and shooting adds $119 billion of overall value to our nation’s gross domestic product and generates $17.6 billion in federal taxes and $12.2 billion in state and local taxes.

The 2018 edition of the America’s Sporting Heritage: Fueling the American Economy report is sponsored by American Outdoor Brands Corporation; Pure Fishing, Inc.; and Safari Club International.

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