A new hunting season is under way.
A partnership of hunting interests has embarked on an initiative to promote and protect its contribution to economic development.
United as Hunting Works for Missouri, the partnership includes the state and local chambers of commerce, sporting groups and retailers.
The contribution they cite is significant. According to the Congressional Sportsmen's Foundation:
• Hunters in Missouri number 609,000 annually.
• Each hunter spends an average of $1,848 per season on trip-related expenses including lodging, food and gas.
• Missouri hunters spend more than $1.1 billion each year, which translates into $96.8 million in state and local taxes.
"Hunting has become an economic engine to our state and local economies," said Dan Mehan, president and CEO of the Missouri Chamber of Commerce and Industry, and a co-chairman of Hunting Works for Missouri. "We're glad this group has formed to highlight the positive impact hunting plays here in Missouri."
Promotion, however, isn't the partnership's only focus. In addition, it "will monitor public policy decisions and weigh in on hunting-related issues that impact Missouri jobs," which is government-speak for lobbying lawmakers.
Members consider formation of the partnership as timely. Hunting Works references the growth of "politically motivated anti-hunting groups" that seek to "limit, make more expensive and even ban hunting."
And, depending on the frame of reference, the partnership is either being candid or alarmist when it asserts: "All this is occurring at a time when hunter numbers are declining, and quite frankly, many of our rural communities and businesses will not survive if hunter numbers continue to erode."
We agree hunting makes a significant contribution to the state's economy. And that contribution deserves to be protected.
No longer confined to forests and fields, expect the hunting industry to make its presence known in the Capitol.