Conservation Connection: Hunting benefits the economy
(KPLR) – The biggest hunting season of the year is fast approaching. Firearms deer season opens November 16. Hunters, as you go afield you can pat yourself on the back for giving a boost to our state’s economy. Missouri is a great place to hunt and fish. Conservation and hunting pay us big dividends as they enrich our economy and quality of life. Dan Zarlenga puts a few figures to paper.
Q. First of all, conservation is an investment; tell us how we support it.
- The conservation Departments income comes from 3 primary sources
- Hunting and Fishing permit sales (about 20%)
- Federal re-imbursements (about 20%)
- 1/8 cent sales tax created by popular vote in 1976 (60%)
- Yet MDC’s entire budget accounts for less than 1% of the total state government budget
- This income allows MDC to manage the state’s fish, forest and wildlife resources for all citizens
- It enables MDC to provide programs to help people to appreciate nature and get actively involved in the outdoors
Q. How many people participate in outdoor and nature-related activities?
- MDC does periodic human dimensions studies to track citizen participation, opinions and interests. They show:
- 1 in 4 Missourians hunts or fishes
- About the same number consider themselves wildlife viewers
- Around ½ million Missourians hunt, enough to fill a large football stadium 7 times
- About 1.1 million consider themselves anglers, enough to fill the stadium 14 times
- 2.2 million watch wildlife, enough to fill the stadium 28 times
Q. So what are some of the returns on this investment?
- More than $60 of economic activity is generated for each dollar in the Conservation Department’s budget
- $11 billion pumped into economy each year through outdoor recreation like hunting and fishing and from the forest products industry
- Outdoor activities are responsible for about 95,000 jobs—enough to employ the City of St. Charles
- Economic benefits extend not just to places like sporting goods stores, but also hotels, gas stations, restaurants, etc.
- City of Kirksville states that revenue generated during deer season exceeds the economic revenue of the entire December Christmas shopping season
Q. Of course, there are a lot of non-financial benefits to hunting and conservation too.
Share the Harvest Program allows hunters to donate all or part of the deer to help feed needy families—Last year Missouri hunters donated of 30,000 pounds of venison through the program