ShareThis Page

Frye: Group touting hunting's value

| Saturday, Feb. 8, 2014, 9:10 p.m.

Some people already know hunters spend a lot of money in Pennsylvania.

Their spouses, for example. You can only hide that ever-growing pile of gadgets for only so long.

But not everyone's in the loop.

The people behind the effort known as Hunting Works for Pennsylvania have spent the past year trying to change that. They've been organizing businesses into a coalition aimed at carrying the message of hunting's economic importance to the general populace and decision makers in government.

Hunters spend about $986 million in Pennsylvania each year, generating $257 million in federal, state and local taxes, according to the U.S. Sportsmen's Alliance, a lobby group. The total impact on the state economy is $1.6 billion a year, it adds.

The guys and gals who head into the woods in orange and camo see that, said Rob Sexton, the alliance's senior vice president.

“Our message really is to the rest of the folks out there,” Sexton said. “Hunting supports 15,000 jobs in Pennsylvania, so whether you hunt or not, hunting is important for everyone.”

Hunters' money winds up in lots of places, he added. They buy gear at home, gas and groceries on the way to camp, and stay and eat at places in between.

“For those who think hunting is largely a Clearfield County thing, there's a lot of money spent in cities, too,” Sexton said.

For a long while, that hunting economy was taken for granted, said John Kline of Kline Associates, a Harrisburg-based lobbying firm. But hunting has come under attack from politically driven antihunting organizations, he said.

“Businesses are recognizing that,” Kline said.

The Hunting Works coalition is a response meant to give businesses their first collective “voice for policy decisions,” he said.

To date, the coalition has signed on 125 businesses — from hotels and restaurants to gas stations and tourism organizations such as the Greater Pittsburgh Hotel Association — across 44 counties, Kline said. Member businesses get signs they can display touting them as being hunter-friendly.

It's too early to say whether that's helped them, Sexton said. The program is still new, with just one hunting season having occurred since its launch.

“But we're building,” he said. “The more we can spread the word, the better and faster this will grow.”

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

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.