According to the National Survey of Fishing, Hunting, and Wildlife-Associated Recreation the number of hunters in Oregon declined from 237,000 to 196,000 between 2006 and 2011 — a 17 percent drop. During that same period the number of hunters nationwide increased by 9 percent. Hunting Works For Oregon is being launched today because we believe in our hunting heritage, a pastime that has brought families and friends together while putting wholesome food on the table for generations. This decrease in hunters doesn’t just mean fewer friends waiting in deer stands together it also means that between 2006 and 2011 expenditures by hunters in Oregon dropped by 43 percent, from $416,866,000 to $238,696,000.
Fewer hunters spending less money on the sport they love means less money for local businesses, everything from gas stations to restaurants to grocery stores. It also means less money for conservation. Fewer hunters buying fewer licenses and less equipment means less money goes to the Pittman-Robertson fund that pays for habitat restoration. It’s unlikely that Oregon’s birdwatchers, hikers and campers are picking up the slack; there is no Pittman-Robertson tax on camping equipment or binoculars.
Hunting Works For Oregon, our tenth state chapter, was formed with the hope that we can educate people and legislators about the importance of hunters and the money they spend. Our list of co-chairs and partners in Oregon is a testament to the broad impact of hunting, everything from pawn shops to chambers of commerce, to restaurants and hotels. Hunting Works For Oregon will work with our diverse partners to raise awareness about the importance of hunting at the capitol and across the state. Together we will make sure legislators consider the impact to hunters and shooters before passing legislation that could undermine them. Together we will make sure that everyone who wants to get into the field for a hunt or try their hand at target shooting feels comfortable and confident.
We are excited to be working in Oregon, because hunting works for the businesses and citizens of Oregon. Watch for a Hunting Works For America chapter in your state, because hunting works for all of us.