Three weeks ago in Spokane, hunters, business leaders, conservation organizations, retailers, tourism experts and chambers of commerce all came together to cut the ribbon on the newest state chapter of the award-winning Hunting Works For America program.
Make no mistake, Washington hunters are truly blessed in terms of the varied ecosystems in which they can hunt game, and they are equally fortunate to have big tracts of country filled with such an incredibly diverse number of species to pursue. The list of game species reads something like this: deer (3 species), elk, bear, moose, bighorn sheep and mountain goat. The small game list is equally impressive, with pheasants, turkeys, grouse, chukar, quail and waterfowl attracting hunters’ attention.
You might be surprised to learn that 219,000 people hunt in Washington each year, and there are tens of thousands more who accompany those hunters with no intent to harvest an animal. That’s a lot of hunters, and to say the NSSF is excited to begin working with and for them to educate non-hunters about the economic benefits of hunting would be an understatement. In Washington alone, hunting’s economic benefits add up to a $614 million ripple effect on the state’s economy. Let me restate that hunters in Washington contribute over a half of billion dollars a year to the Washington economy. Amazing.
Every new Hunting Works For America chapter that NSSF starts affirms the importance of hunting to state economies. The Washington chapter is no different, where hunting supports over 5,000 jobs and contributes more than $40 million in state and local taxes. As in the 11 states where Hunting Works was launched before Washington, NSSF is not doing this alone. Hunting Works For Washington already has over 50 partners and a considerable list of co-chairs from a wide range of businesses and conservation groups to help spread the word. Hunters spend money — lots of it. And hunters build jobs with their spending.
With the addition of the Washington chapter, the NSSF now has 12 Hunting Works initiatives across the country, stretching from the Northwest to Maine. I am a lifelong hunter, and I am proud every time the NSSF launches a new Hunting Works For America chapter because I want to make sure that our children and their children can enjoy this tradition for years to come.
Originally published by Chris Dolnack, Senior Vice President & Chief Marketing Officer at National Shooting Sports Foundation