Many people see hunting as a totally unnecessary bloodsport which should be outlawed. On the other side of the argument are those who enjoy hunting and who like to spend their spare time engaging in it in a completely legal way.
What both sides need to know is how beneficial hunting can be to an economy.
The money spent by hunters and on hunting helps a lot of other people earn a living as well as providing tax money for governments.
Hunting by numbers
In the US there are approximately 16 million people who hunt, which is around 6% of the population. That figure is incredibly high when you think how many people will be too young to hunt or too old to hunt and when you think of how many people live in large urban areas where it will be a drive of several hours to the nearest hunting ground. There are in fact more Americans that hunt than those who go bowling, which is a staggering amount as we’ve all seen how busy bowling alleys can often be.
In America it is estimated that hunting has helped to create over 700,000 jobs all across the country which wouldn’t exist were it not for the sport. That’s a very impressive figure by any stretch and it has also been estimated that the 14 million US hunters spend approximately $22 billion each year. This is such a high figure that if hunting were a business it would rank in 35th place on the Fortune 500.
Wherever hunters spend their money, someone’s business booms. This can be from the obvious such as guns, bullets and any clothing worn by hunters to the cars they use to drive there, including the extra petrol they will use on hunting trips. There are also the rest stops and eateries along the way which hunters will patronise. And of course there are hotels or cabins that hunters may rent on longer trips that all generate income for somebody too.
It is a pastime which benefits a great deal of businesses and there is one even bigger beneficiary.
It might sound strange that killing animals for sport benefits the environment in any way, but it truly does. Hunters pay tax on their sport and require various permits and this money, estimated at around $8 million per day, is funnelled into conservation projects and means that hunting is not just a self-sustaining industry, but it has led to an increase in the number of some animals. For example, since the early 1900s the number of white tiled deer has increased by 31,000,000 and ducks have increased by somewhere in the region of 46,000,000 thanks to investment in conservation projects.
Healthy habitats are fostered and other initiatives which benefit everyone have cone from this money. Everyone needs water, right? Well, if it wasn’t for the money generated by hunting drinking water might well not be so clean. Effectively this means that the big business of hunting has positive consequences for everyone.
It does however create quite a paradox in that if animals weren’t hunted there would be a negative impact on the ecosystem because there would be an over-population, but it’s environmental initiatives that have increased the numbers to such a level. The cycle is needed to continue as one benefits the other in its own way and keeps nature – albeit a man made version of nature – ticking over quite nicely.
The growth of hunting
The number of people who participate in hunting continues to grow each year. There are hunters registered across the full range of the age spectrum and while it has long been a traditionally male pastime, more women are taking it up. It is now estimated that approximately 11% of hunters are female which isn’t very high at all, but it’s significantly higher than it once was and that number is predicted to grow.
The good news is the growth of hunting leads to more and more money going back into the economy in a variety of ways. Many hunters are reasonably affluent – they might not be multi millionaires, but they aren’t on the fringes of poverty either – and they aren’t shy of spending a good bit of money on their trips. This is beneficial for all involved as well as the environment of course and as the trend is set to continue, so will the spending and revenue made in taxes both increase.
Quite simply put, the more people who hunt, the better it is for a country’s economy.
Hunting isn’t just shooting animals, it also covers fishing which is arguably the most popular hunting pastime. Those who cite angling as their favourite pastime in America total almost 50 million, which is over 18% of the population. Angling licenses generate a total of $686 million a year in the United States, which is a very large contribution to government coffers.
The approximate money spent on hunting and fishing by each household in the US each year is $33.63. That’s not much, you might think, but remember this includes every household not, just those who hunt or fish. This equates to somewhere close to $2,000 being spent by each hunter every single year – an expensive hobby, but one which they are happy to pay for.
Hunting is self-sustaining in America thanks to the way it is managed. With revenue from hunters going straight back into environmental projects, animals have increased in number and have better habitats. Environmental projects also include forestry initiatives so it is ensured that new trees are planted when old ones are felled. This management makes sure that the number of trees always remains high. Clean water is also maintained thanks to money from hunting.
The number of jobs created and the amount of tax revenue raised by hunting is very impressive. So impressive that hunting is a big business that needs to be recognised for its contributions to the economy.