Mark Johnson: Hunting season benefits Minnesota towns, small businesses
Hunting is embedded in Minnesota culture. Families, friends, and colleagues take advantage of deer and other hunting seasons together every fall. Memories made and traditions passed on are priceless, but hunting also benefits Minnesota in very concrete ways. It is important that hunting be recognized as the positive economic force it is and that hunting activity continues to be fostered and encouraged within our state.
Each fall, nearly 500,000 hunters flock to small towns throughout Minnesota to partake in their sport. These hunters represent an influx of commerce; they need places to stay, hearty meals, sporting equipment, and gas, and they patronize the small businesses of rural Minnesota to fulfill these needs. The resulting economic boost is paramount to the health of these small businesses, as well as the communities in which they exist. These transactions, which may seem insignificant, add up to a massive $733 million annually.
Hunting not only benefits small businesses, but also keeps Minnesotans employed. It creates 12,400 jobs in the state of Minnesota and provides $418 million in salaries and wages. Hunters pay $92 million in state and local taxes; they also contribute hugely to conservation. The revenue from the licenses, tags, and stamps they are required to buy is used to restore the habitat of game and non-game animals alike. Additionally, pursuant to the Pittman Roberts Act, hunters pay an 11 percent excise tax on hunting equipment. Revenue from this tax is used to fund habitat conservation projects, as well as hunter education programs. All told, hunting generates a $1.3 billion ripple effect to Minnesota’s economy.
Hunting benefits every single Minnesotan, whether directly or indirectly. It is a massive economic stimulus, it employs Minnesotans, and it raises tax revenue. The tradition of hunting is vital to our state in many ways. Hunting needs to be preserved and valued, and that is why organization such as the Minnesota Deer Hunters Association and Hunting Works for Minnesota help educate those who may not hunt or shoot themselves about the positive impact hunting and the shooting sports have on our state’s economy and heritage.
Mark Johnson is executive director of the Minnesota Deer Hunters Association as well as a co-chair of Hunting Works for Minnesota.