A broad group of local and regional leaders representing Iowa chambers of commerce, convention and visitors bureaus, sporting organizations, small businesses, and retailers today announced the launch of the Hunting Works for Iowa partnership. Stressing the major impact hunting has on Iowa’s economy, the organization pointed to sportsmen and women as key drivers of in-state commerce.
“Governor Branstad and I are both excited to see a group like Hunting Works for Iowa come together. Every industry that helps Iowa grow and prosper is important to us, and make no mistake that includes hunting,” said Lt. Governor Reynolds. “The economic benefit that hunting brings to our state is far too important to be overlooked, and we are pleased that this group has been formed to highlight the economic engine that hunting has become to our local and state economies.”
According to the Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation, each year 251,000 people hunt in Iowa. Iowa hunters spend over $288 million each year and the resulting economic impact translates to $23.4 million in state and local taxes, 6,200 Iowa jobs and a $359.5 million ripple effect on the state economy.
Jim Henter, Co-Chairman of HWFIA and president of the Iowa Retail Federation, applauded Hunting Works for Iowa for bringing the economic impact of hunting to the forefront. “Countless retail stores across Iowa benefit from hunter dollars every year – convenience stores, roadside diners, sporting good, hardware and clothing stores – every single one and many more see huge increases in profits during hunting season,” said Henter.
According to HWFIA this pattern of spending happens all over the state, with each hunter spending on average $1,140 dollars per season on trip related expenses such as lodging, food and gas.
“We joined this effort because we know first hand how important hunting is to the economy of Clear Lake and the state as a whole,” said Libbey Patton, HWFIA Co-Chair and the tourism director for the Clear Lake Area Chamber of Commerce. “Hunters bring a lot of money to our town and many others and that results directly in more jobs and more tax revenue at the local level.”
The newly formed Hunting Works for Iowa partnership has more than 45 partner organizations and will be adding dozens more in the weeks and months to come. The effort is being supported by organizations such as the National Shooting Sports Foundation.
“The HWFIA partners have joined this effort because they understand that hunting plays an important role in our economy and our heritage,” said co-chair Steve Ries, owner of Top Gun Kennel in Central City. “This year marks the 75th anniversary of the Pittman-Robertson Act, which is an 11 percent excise tax on all hunting equipment. This money is used to conserve and restore habitat which benefits non-game species as well as anyone who loves the outdoors. But many people don’t always understand that the bulk of the money that pays for wildlife areas comes from hunters and that hunters are just as deeply concerned with conservation as anyone else; which is why I am so pleased to be a co-chair of this organization and help spread the word that everyone sees a benefit from a robust hunting and shooting industry in Iowa.”
The HWFIA partnership will monitor public policy decisions and weigh in on hunting-related issues that impact Iowa’s economy and any jobs derived from the sport. Hunting Works for Iowa will serve as a vehicle to facilitate important public policy dialogue and to tell the story of how Iowa’s hunting heritage positively effects conservation and jobs throughout the state.