Report hits on hunters’ economic impact

Data released in a new report by the Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation attempts to underscore the significance of hunters and anglers to the Colorado and national economies.

Information from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s 2011 National Survey of Fishing Hunting and Wildlife-Associated Recreation was used in the CSF report, called “America’s Sporting Heritage: Fueling the American Economy.” According to the report, the outdoorsmen and outdoorswomen of Colorado spent $1.3 billion and supported nearly 19,000 jobs in the state.

“Many people may not fully comprehend how important hunting and fishing are to the fabric of this country,” Jeff Crane, president of CSF, said in a news release. “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.”

More than 900,000 people hunted or fished in Colorado in 2011, creating an economic ripple effect of $2.1 billion, according to the report. Nationally, there are more than 37 million hunters and anglers with an overall economic impact of $90 billion.

It’s no secret sportsmen and sportswomen, especially hunters, play a significant role in Moffat County’s economy. Of the more than 212,000 hunters to draw an elk tag in Colorado in 2011, 22,255 of them drew elk tags in the Game Management Units located in Moffat County.

Chris Oxley, executive director of the Craig Chamber of Commerce and Moffat County Visitor Center, said the typical nonresident hunter stays in the area they are hunting for seven days, supporting the local economy during that time.

The local economic impact of other outdoor activities like fishing, camping and hiking can be more difficult to measure in Moffat County, Oxley said, but they are still major contributors.

“The local impact is hard to measure, particularly because so much of our recreation is so deep into the backcountry,” Oxley said. “There’s certainly an economic impact from our outdoor activities. I think there’s an opportunity for us to enhance all those things that aren’t as well known by getting the word out to our outdoor enthusiasts.”