WASHINGTON, D.C. — The 1.31 million people who hunt or fish in Illinois have a tremendous impact on the state’s economy. In 2011, these outdoorsmen and women spent $2.34 billion with a ripple effect of $3.9 billion, and supported 31,597 jobs in the state.
New data released Feb. 8 by the Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation (CSF) documents the importance of sportsmen and women’s activities in Illinois and across the nation. The state fact sheets follow the release of CSF’s national report, “America’s Sporting Heritage, Fueling the American Economy,” which was released in mid-January.
Jeff Crane, president of the CSF, said: “Many people may not fully comprehend how important hunting and fishing are to the fabric of this country. 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. Sportsmen and women spent $2.34 billion on hunting and fishing in Illinois in 2011, nearly as much as the receipts for all livestock and associated products produced in the state ($2.34 billion vs. $2.6 billion in livestock product receipts).”
Intended to provide a series of “sound bites” that resonate within the outdoor community as well as the general public, the CSF data spotlights some of the most compelling information about hunters and anglers in every state. For example, 1.31 million people (residents and non-residents) hunted or fished in Illinois in 2011, more than the combined populations of the Peoria, Rockford, Champaign/Urbana and Springfield Metropolitan Statistical Areas (1.31 million vs. 1.17 million). In addition, there are more people who hunted in Illinois in 2011 than the number of people who attended Chicago Bears home games that year (511,800 hunters vs. 497,166 fans).
Perhaps most importantly, hunters and anglers support 31,597 jobs in Illinois — that is more than the combined employment of the University of Illinois-Chicago and the University of Illinois-Urbana-Champaign (31,597 vs. 22,000 combined jobs).
Nationwide, the impact is even more impressive. There are more than 37 million hunters and anglers age 16 and older in this country — about the same as the population of the entire state of California. These sportsmen and women spent $90 billion on hunting and fishing in the United States in 2011, which is comparable to the combined global sales of Apple’s iPad and iPhone that year. In difficult economic times, it is important to note that both participation and spending by people who hunt and fish went up in 2011.
Beyond the impact to businesses and local economies, sportsmen and women are the leaders in conserving fish and wildlife and their habitats. When you combine license and stamp fees, motorboat fuels, excise taxes on hunting and fishing equipment and membership contributions to conservation organizations, hunters and anglers directed $3 billion toward on-the-ground conservation and restoration efforts in 2011 — that is more than $95 every second. This does not include their own habitat acquisition and restoration work for lands owned or leased for the purpose of hunting and fishing, which would add another $11 billion to the mix.
The base data for the CSF report and state fact sheets comes from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s 2011 National Survey of Fishing, Hunting and Wildlife Associated Recreation. From this base data, CSF and its partners the National Shooting Sports Foundation and the American Sportfishing Association commissioned Southwick Associates to develop detailed reports on the hunting and fishing industries, respectively. These reports provide the information that CSF uses in their comparisons to other industries and activities that may be more recognizable to the general public. The CSF report and state information for all 50 states are available on the CSF website, sportsmenslink.org.
From the Feb. 20-26, 2013, issue