UTICA — Hunting is big business in New York state. That’s the message that local and regional leaders representing New York’s sporting and business communities are promoting with a new partnership called Hunting Works For New York.
“Hunting and shooting sports are huge drivers of our state economy, but I feel they haven’t gotten the credit they deserve,” Brendan O’Bryan, government relations manager at the Greater Binghamton Chamber of Commerce and co-chair of Hunting Works For New York, contended in a news release. “Hunters spend millions of dollars annually, and much of that money goes to New York’s local business owners and entrepreneurs. In fact, hunters spend a great deal of money at stores like Bass Pro and Cabela’s but they also shop at locally owned sporting goods stores, hardware stores, gas stations, restaurants, hotels, and cafés across our home state.”
Launched Sept. 14 with a news conference at Bass Pro Shops in Utica, Hunting Works For New York says it will educate the public on how hunting “positively impacts” New York’s economy, monitor public-policy decisions, and “weigh in” on hunting-related issues that affect New York jobs.
The new partnership will serve as a “vehicle to facilitate important public-policy discussions” and to “tell the story of how New York’s hunting heritage benefits conservation and jobs throughout the state,” the release stated.
Hunting Works For New York says it exists to promote the “strong economic partnership” between the hunting and shooting communities and the local economy of the state of New York.
The Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation reports that 823,000 people hunt in New York state annually. Hunting Works For New York says it seeks to highlight the impact these hunters have on the state’s economy. For example, hunters in New York spend more than $810 million on hunting trips and more than $484 million on equipment, according to the release. Hunter spending totals $2.3 billion annually in the Empire State.
In addition to considerable economic contributions, hunter dollars also help fund conservation efforts. “Many people do not realize that hunters pay an 11 percent excise tax, through the Pittman-Robertson Act, that is used to conserve and restore habitat whenever they purchase equipment,” Hunting Works For New York noted.
Hunting Works For New York and its partners will be attending events and educating the public and elected officials on why hunting and the shooting sports are “so important” to New York’s economy.
“Too many people just don’t know how integral hunting and the shooting sports are to state and local economies,” Larry Steiner, owner of Steiner Packing Company and a co-chair of Hunting Works For New York, said in the release. “I was thrilled to join this partnership because I want to spread this information; I want people to know that hunters are responsible for thousands of jobs and thousands of acres of wildlife habitat.”
The newly formed Hunting Works For New York partnership has more than 50 partner organizations and expects to “add dozens more” in the weeks and months ahead. The effort is supported by sporting organizations such as the National Shooting Sports Foundation.