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:
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
State Tax Revenue: $26,902,406
Georgia's Angler Economic Profile:
Retail Sales: $568,712,185
Total jobs: 10,649
State Tax Revenue; $34,576,743
Reach Robert Pavey at (706) 868-1222, Ext. 119 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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