A hunter's view: Hunting boosts state’s economyFor many Minnesotans, hunting is a tradition enriched by our own instincts and family gatherings. But here is another benefit seldom recognized: the important benefit hunting has on Minnesota’s local economy and wildlife-conservation achievements.
By: Ron Schara, for the News Tribune
For many Minnesotans, hunting is a tradition enriched by our own instincts and family gatherings. But here is another benefit seldom recognized: the important benefit hunting has on Minnesota’s local economy and wildlife-conservation achievements.
This year marks the 75th anniversary of the Pittman-
Robertson Act. This federal law created an 11 percent excise tax on the sale of hunting equipment: guns, bows, ammunition and other hunting gear. Revenue generated by this tax returns to the states to pay for wildlife habitat conservation projects, hunter-education programs and other conservation efforts. Minnesota will receive an estimated $11 million for these efforts in 2012.
And guess what? America’s hunting community demanded the tax. When the law originally was passed, wildlife populations were at record lows. Hunting seasons were either short or nonexistent. Now, after 75 years, we are able to enjoy the many different hunting seasons we have today as well as healthy game populations.
As a sportsman, I am proud of the important role hunting plays in conservation work in Minnesota and across the country. On top of the excise tax, hunters pay for their hunting licenses, duck stamps, tags and other fees that are used to maintain our game and non-game species.
At the same time, hunting has an important impact on our state economy.
Each year, nearly 600,000 people hunt in Minnesota. Many of them travel to reach their favorite hunting spots. When they arrive, they often stay at local hotels and motels, dine at area restaurants and fill their tanks at local convenience stores.
Whenever I am on a hunting trip, I always make sure to tell the local motel and restaurant what brought me to town. For many of these businesses, hunting season is a big boost to their bottom line. It allows them to hire additional workers, which further helps small-town economies.
Overall, hunting has a
$1.47 billion ripple effect on Minnesota’s economy. That’s not exactly small change.
I think it is important for people to know the many positive effects hunting has on our economy and conservation efforts. That is why I am a co-chairman of Hunting Works for Minnesota. This is a partnership of motels, hotels, resorts, restaurants, gas stations, chambers of commerce, convention and visitors’ bureaus and hunting organizations from every corner of Minnesota working to educate hunters and non-hunters alike on the important benefits hunting and the shooting sports have on our economy and conservation efforts.
Every time hunters take to the fields and shooters to the ranges, our state benefits. This is why I support hunting and the shooting sports. They work for Minnesota’s economy and Minnesota’s wildlife habitat.
Ron Schara is co-chairman of Hunting Works for Minnesota (huntingworksformn.com), a statewide partnership of businesses and organizations that support hunting and its economic benefits. The Minneapolis-based Schara also is host of a TV show Minnesota Bound. He wrote this exclusively for the News Tribune.