Reports: More people outdoors means more spending

Bob Frye
| Monday, Jan. 21, 2013, 10:34 p.m.

All those extra sportsmen you've been hearing about? They've been spending money, and lots of it.

Last fall, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service released its most recent report on hunting, fishing and wildlife-associated recreation. It showed increases in participation in all categories for the first time in years.

Participation in hunting, for example, grew by 9 percent between 2006 and 2011.

Two new reports released at the SHOT Show, the shooting industry's biggest annual gathering, held in Las Vegas, last week document how those sportsmen are supporting the economy.

One report is titled “Hunting in America: An Economic Force for Conservation” and was done for the National Shooting Sports Foundation. The other is titled “America's Sporting Heritage, Fueling the American Economy.” It was done for the Congressional Sportsmen's Foundation.

Spending in more than 40 categories was analyzed in the two documents. The one constant among all those subdivisions was that the flow of money has increased. Overall spending by hunters grew by 55 percent in 2011.

The total spent by sportsmen came to more than $90 billion or “more than the global sales of Apple's iPhone and iPad the same year,” the Congressional Sportsmen's Foundation report noted.

Hunter sand shooters spent about $25 billion on special equipment, things like all-terrain vehicles and boats. That's equivalent to the revenues of the video game industry. They spent more in trip-related expenses than the movie industry made in box office receipts, $10.4 billion to $10.2 billion, the report added.

“Many people may not fully comprehend how important hunting and fishing are to the fabric of this country. Yet 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 Sportsmen's Foundation.

Fishing has likewise seen a jump in spending.

The number of anglers increased by 11 percent between 2006 and 2011. Those people spent $47.7 billion in 2011, according to a report released by the American Sportfishing Association, also this month. That was enough to make fishing tackle sales grow by more than 16 percent, the report said.

“Sportfishing is more than just a traditional American pastime, it is a powerful economic force, an unparalleled contributor to conservation and a vital part of the American culture,” said Sportfishing Association president Mike Nussman. “Hidden, but none-the-less real, is the multiplying factor that effectively triples what an angler spends on fishing tackle when the initial expenditure ripples through the economy in terms of dollars spent on travel, food, lodging, gas and other amenities.”

Bob Frye is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at or via Twitter @bobfryeoutdoors.

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