Originally created 02/23/03

Hunters, fisherman drop big bucks on their hobbies

Stewart Garrett has enough deer stands, canoes, four-wheelers, remote-controlled cameras, bows, traps, guns and other gadgets to open his own sporting goods store - in several locations.

And he keeps buying more.

"I can't help it," he said. "I love my toys."

There are jon boats, pontoon boats, even a personal watercraft. He has a tractor for clearing food plots, seed spreaders, reloading gear, a phone that quacks when it rings and all things camo.

Is he alone? Absolutely not, according to a new survey by the National Shooting Sports Foundation, which shows Georgia hunters and fishermen plunk down more than $1 billion a year on their hobbies.

All told, sportsmen and women generate more revenue than oranges in Florida - or potatoes in Idaho, according to the study, which based its findings on data from the Census Bureau and U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service.

Anglers and hunters in the United States total 38 million - meaning twice as many people hunt and fish as belong to labor unions. If all hunters and anglers had voted in the last presidential election, they would have controlled 36 percent of the vote.

Sportfishing spending totals $36 billion each year, of which $15 billion is for travel. Such clout is almost nine times the $3.7 billion in revenues created by the nation's commercial seafood industry.

Here are a few other tidbits about our habits:

  • least 18 days per angler.}American anglers fish an average of 18 days per year.
  • Fishermen forked out $290,917,000 last year - just for ice!
  • Hunters spend more on ammo - $792 million - than Americans spend on golf balls. They also spend $907 million on rifles, $677 million on shotguns and $383 million on handgun and primitive weapons.
  • The United States has 34 million anglers and 13 million hunters.
  • Sportsmen and women pay 65 percent of state fish and wildlife agency budgets, not to mention their role, through taxes and political strengths, in conserving habitat and managing wildlife resources.
  • Hunters and shooters have paid $3.95 billion in excise taxes since 1939 and steered $647 million toward habitat conservation through the sale of duck stamps.
  • LOCAL SAILOR HONORED: Congratulations go out to Jeff Annis, an Augustan named recently as the South Atlantic Yacht Racing Association's Sportsman of the Year.

    Annis, a lifelong member of the Augusta Sailing Club, earned the honor for accomplishments including his efforts at organizing regattas and other events, fine sportsmanship and volunteer efforts.

    Georgia's Hunter Economic Profile:

    Total hunters: 416,833

    Retail Sales: $515,992,151

    Total jobs: 10,303

    Salaries: $253,742,459

    State Tax Revenue: $26,902,406

    Georgia's Angler Economic Profile:

    Anglers: 1,086,322

    Retail Sales: $568,712,185

    Total jobs: 10,649

    Salaries: $283,998,584

    State Tax Revenue; $34,576,743

    Reach Robert Pavey at (706) 868-1222, Ext. 119 or rpavey@augustachronicle.com.


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