Dallas Expo is First Peek at Economic Health of Hunting
Several trends suggest the hunting industry–with its $66 billion in economic impacts–appears relatively resilient to recent downturns, but the upcoming Dallas Safari Club (DSC) convention and expo offers the nation’s first real peek at the economic health of hunting in 2012.
Always the first major hunting show of the year in the U.S., the event is set for Jan. 5-8 at the Dallas Convention Center.
The reliability of the event as an economic indicator may be strengthened by its location. Texas leads the nation in number of hunters (1.1 million), annual retail sales from hunting ($2.3 billion) overall economic impact from hunting ($4.1 billion), and jobs supported by hunting (47,000).
DSC’s annual convention and expo is open to the public. A record 32,000 attended in 2011 and officials expect another strong showing in 2012.
“Our event–and the funds it generates for conservation–have both enjoyed significant growth in recent years, and our upcoming show looks to be the biggest yet,” said Ben Carter, DSC executive director. “In a time when many organizations, businesses and even entire industries are doing their best to just ride out the bad economy, we’re actually trying to limit our growth to a manageable pace.”
In the final weeks of event preparation, DSC had confirmed a record 800 exhibitors with a record 400 more relegated to a waiting list.
“We’re emphasizing quality, variety and hospitality rather than the size of our event. These days, that’s a luxury. A very good problem to have,” added Carter.
While some might contend that such growth is occurring in spite of the economy, studies show participation in hunting–and related consumer spending on hunting licenses, gear and trips–may actually be increasing because of the downturn.
Supporting studies, trends and news include:
1. Hunting license sales rose by 3.5 percent in states used as an index by a hunting industry trade association, the National Shooting Sports Foundation, in 2009. More info:
2. Researchers in 2008 found a correlation between hunting participation and new housing starts. In down economies when more carpenters, electricians and other tradespeople are out of work, more hunting licenses are sold. More info:
3. A recent look at the buying habits of sportsmen in 2011 showed that purchases of hunting and fishing equipment remained steady or improved slightly from the previous year. More info:
4. If hunting were a corporation, it would rank in the top 20 percent of the Fortune 500 list of America’s largest companies, slightly ahead of such global giants as General Dynamics and Coca-Cola, based on a 2007 report. Includes state-by-state economic facts based on the most current federal data:
5. The 2011 DSC convention and expo set several records for size metrics and generated brisk sales for many exhibitors. More info:
For 2012, the DSC event will feature a record 425,000 square feet of sporting attractions, taxidermy displays and exhibits by outfitters and professional hunters from around the world, gun makers, optics and gear companies, artists, jewelers, clothiers, furriers and many others from across the outdoor industry. Highlights also will include seminars, entertainers, dog-training demonstrations and even a special appearance by 2011 National Hunting and Fishing Day honorary chairman T. Boone Pickens.
Daily admission is $20 per person. Multi-day discount packages are available.
Expo hours are Thurs., Jan. 5, 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.; Fri., Jan. 6, 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.; Sat., Jan. 7, 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.; Sun., Jan. 8, 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.