Sunday, February 17, 2013

Hunters, Anglers Add $1.5 Billion To State Economy

By John Hayes / Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Hunting and fishing is big business in Pennsylvania. In 2011, 1.42 million men and women who hunted or fished in the state spent $1.5 billion on outdoors trips and equipment, with miscellaneous "ripple effect" expenses of $2.5 billion in the Keystone State. Collectively, they supported 24,797 jobs.

A report issued last week by the Congressional Sportsmen's Foundation, which provides information, support and guidance to federal and state legislators, said the impact of traditional outdoors hobbyists on the state's economy was "tremendous."

The $1.5 billion in 2011, group president Jeff Crane said in a written statement, "is more than the [$1.23 billion] combined receipts for corn and cattle, the state's No. 2 and No. 3 agricultural commodities, that year."

The Pennsylvania statistics were culled from the CSF's annual national report, which was based on analysis of nationwide and statewide hunting and fishing data collected for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's 2011 National Survey of Fishing, Hunting and Wildlife Associated Recreation.

To further illustrate the impact of hunting and fishing on Pennsylvania's economy, the report noted that the number of hunters and anglers in the state is nearly the same as the population of Philadelphia (1.5 million) and more than the 2011 total home-game attendance of the Philadelphia Eagles (1.28 million) and Pittsburgh Steelers (1.06 million). Pennsylvania hunters and anglers support roughly the same number of jobs as Penn State University (25,000), the third largest employer in the state.

Nationwide, more than 37 million hunters and anglers, an increase from 2010, spent $90 billion on hunting and fishing in the United States in 2011.

"Many people may not fully comprehend how important hunting and fishing are to the fabric of this country," said Crane. "Yet nationally, there are more people who hunt or fish than go bowling, and their spending would land them at No. 24 on the Fortune 500 list."

Including license and permit fees, excise taxes on hunting and fishing gear, and membership contributions to conservation organizations, the report said American hunters and anglers invested an additional $3 billion in wildlife and habitat conservation and restoration efforts in 2011.

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