Unfortunately the vast majority of elected officials are not hunters. So it is up to sportsmen to convince them why they should care about our issues. Of course there are roughly 20 million hunters in America, so that is a huge start. But what about the many candidates for office who represent areas where we just don’t have a lot of sportsmen and women?
If you live in one of these places you need to be armed with some good reasons why your elected official should care about hunting. For many of them, hunting just doesn’t seem like a big deal. Many dismiss it as a second-class issue.
Here’s why hunting is in the same class as the economy, jobs, healthcare, and the budget:
#1 Hunting is a major economic driver. Hunters buying gas, lodging, firearms, and other gear pump nearly $25 billion into our economy every year just from retail sales. The overall impact on our nation’s economy from hunters is more than $66 billion per year. Hunting in America: An Economic Engine and Conservation Powerhouse.
If hunting itself was a corporation it would be high on the Fortune 500 list of America’s largest companies, ranking above well-known companies like Coca-Cola. Hunting in America.
#2 Hunting means jobs. The astounding economic impact attributed to hunters creates and supports jobs, and lots of them. Hunting supports nearly 600,000 jobs nationwide. Hunting in America.
Laws that prohibit hunting or laws that keep hunters out of the woods come with a cost to both our economy and to jobs.
#3 Hunting promotes a healthy lifestyle. It’s well known that America’s increasingly indoor lifestyle contributes to obesity which is a major factor in increased health problems and healthcare costs. Getting youth (and adults) to spend more time outdoors is one way to combat obesity. Check out No Child Left Inside for some information on obesity and the indoor lifestyle.
Hunters are active – they get off the couch and move. They slog through marshes to duck blinds, hike the Rocky Mountains in search of elk, and spend their time in the off season hanging treestands.
Exercise is a major factor in leading a healthy lifestyle and fewer trips to the doctor and insurance claims mean lower costs and lower health insurance rates. Exercising is preventative medicine that helps keep healthcare costs from climbing.
The healthcare debate is not going away anytime soon. Protecting hunting and opening the doors for new hunters encourages an active outdoor lifestyle and plays a legitimate role in the healthcare discussion.
#4 Hunters and anglers fund habitat preservation and fish and wildlife conservation. Every day hunters and anglers contribute more than $4.7 million to wildlife conservation – that’s more than $1.7 billion annually! The Hunter and Conservation. This funding comes from sportsmen and women purchasing hunting and fishing licenses as well as through excise taxes on firearms, ammunition, and fishing gear.
Even if conservation is not their top priority, elected officials would struggle to come up with the funds to replace what sportsmen and women voluntarily contribute each year for conservation given the challenges facing Social Security, Medicare, national defense, and more.
Restrictions on hunting and angling would just add more burden to the nation’s budget woes.
Resources to Keep You Informed
It’s vital as the election draws near that sportsmen and women stay informed on things both in Washington D.C. and in state capitals. Here are two tools to help:
Check out the U.S. Sportsmen’s Alliance website to learn more about pro- and anti-hunting legislation, who is behind them, and how best to protect your hunting rights.
For information on where candidates stand on firearms issues and the second amendment, check out a new resource provided by the National Shooting Sports Foundation, #gunvote.