Here in the suburbs of NYC, hunters are often misunderstood and thought of as gun-crazy, blood-hungry cave men. This seems especially true on the extreme Eastern and Western edges of our country. Apparently, this is not the case in much of the middle of our nation, where hunting is just another sport/hobby, much like baseball, wood carving or coin collecting. Both the lack of morality and danger of hunting are often cited by those opposing the sport and one could publish a textbook on both subjects. This article will serve to highlight an often overlooked aspect of the hunt: finances.
Hunting increases revenue
Hunters pay over $4 million each day towards conservation. This number seems high but can be broken down into specific revenue streams. Nearly half of all revenue (42.9%) comes from the sale of hunting licenses. It amounts to $1.1 billion per year nationally. This provides half of the yearly income for all state fish and wildlife agencies. This money is dedicated to the support of restoration programs, habitat improvement and general conservation based on the needs of the particular State.
Excise taxes (21% and $560 million) on all sporting equipment such as firearms, ammunition and fishing tackle provide one-fifth of the income for state wildlife agencies. Since 47% of American households contain at least one firearm (with many owning more than one firearm), the sale of hunting related sporting equipment generates huge tax revenue.
Only 12.5% of all conservation money comes from general State's funds (ie. the tax dollars every resident of a state pays). Therefore, hunting, by and large, pays for itself. In fact, hunter's and anglers pay for more than 75% of the annual income for all 50 State's conservation agencies. Anyone who thinks hunters are hurting the environment are clearly mistaken. Without hunters, conservation agencies would cease to exist.
Hunting Creates (and pays for) Jobs
Hunting in America is big business. It may not seem this way on the edges of our country, where one may struggle to find a person who hunts. However, the hunting jobs sector is huge. Hunting creates more than 1 million jobs in the United States. These range from manufacturing of sports related gear/firearms/ammunition to park rangers and federal game management. Firearms companies like Kimber and Smith and Wesson (two well known, trusted names) produce all of their arms in the United States. Kimber has a plant located in Yonkers, NY and S&W has headquarters in Springfield, MA. Unlike many manufacturing giants, they are dedicated to US jobs. Companies like Nike or Reebok cannot say the same.
The $2.4 billion in annual federal income-tax money generated by hunters' spending could cover the annual paychecks of 100,000 U.S. Army Service Men and Women. Could the federal government afford to lose the jobs and funds generated by hunting? Our current President does not exactly have a record of job creation OR hunter support.
It's all about the Benjamins
As the fantastic rap group Wu Tang Clan points out, Cash Rules Everything Around Me. Money talks and clearly, those against hunting are not ready to listen. With a few facts about the large amount of money generated that goes directly into the States' pockets, hunting should be viewed as a profitable and necessary sport. There is already a lack of conservation in the US and it cannot be cut more. While the moral and social implications of hunting can be argued ad nauseam, the financial positives of hunting cannot be ignored.