WASHINGTON, D.C. — Texas's 2.6 million hunters and anglers are among the most prominent and  influential of all demographic groups, spending more than $6.6 billion a year on hunting and  fishing, according to a new report.   

The new report, "Hunting and Fishing: Bright Stars of the American  Economy ~ A force as big as all outdoors," spotlights the immense impact  hunters and anglers have on the economy at the national and state level.   

In Texas, spending by hunters  and anglers directly supports 106,000 jobs, which puts $3.5 billion worth of  paychecks into pockets of working residents around the state. Of course,  government coffers also benefit - spending by sportsmen in pursuit of these  outdoor activities generates $654 million in state and local taxes. These  latest figures demonstrate that season after season hunters and anglers are  driving the economy from big businesses to rural towns, through booms and  recessions.   

“Because  sportsmen enjoy hunting or fishing alone or in small groups, they are  overlooked as a constituency and as a substantial economic force,” stated  Jeff Crane, president of the Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation. “When  you compare spending by hunters and anglers to other sectors, their impact on  the state’s economy becomes more tangible.”   

Sportsmen support more  than twice the jobs in Texas than Dell Computer Corporation, Lockheed Martin,  Electronic Data Systems, and Dow Chemical Company combined (106,000 jobs vs.  49,000).

Annual spending by Texas  sportsmen is more than the revenues of Dallas-based Blockbuster, a Fortune 500  company ($6.6 billion vs. $5.6 billion).

Annual spending by Texas  sportsmen is greater than the combined cash receipts from the state's cotton,  greenhouse/nursery, broilers, dairy and corn production ($6.6 billion vs. $6.1  billion).

Texas sportsmen annually  spend $441 million on outboard boats and engines to get out on the water and  around the marshes for fishing and hunting.

More people hunt and  fish in Texas than attend Dallas Cowboys, Dallas Mavericks, Houston Texans and  Houston Rockets games combined (2.68 million vs. 2.6 million).

Texas sportsmen  outnumber the populations of San Antonio and Dallas (2.7 million vs. 2.5  million).

The economic stimulus of  hunting and fishing equates to an astounding $18 million a day being pumped  into the state's economy.   

“Spending by sportsmen benefits not only the manufacturers of  hunting and fishing related products, but everything from local mom and pop  businesses to wildlife conservation,” noted Doug Painter, president of  National Shooting Sports Foundation. “And because most hunting and fishing  takes place in rural areas, much of the spending benefits less affluent parts  of the state.”

On the  national level, 34 million sportsmen age 16 and older spent more than $76  billion in 2006, supporting 1.6 million jobs.   If a single corporation grossed as much as hunters and anglers spend, it  would be among America’s 20 largest, ahead of Target, Costco and AT&T. And  if all hunters and anglers had voted during the last presidential election,  they would have equaled 31 percent of all votes cast.  If all hunters and anglers living in Texas voted, they would have  equaled 53 percent of all votes cast in the state.

These  statistics are impressive and, if anything, they underestimate the impact of  sportsmen since they do not take into account the millions of hunters and  anglers under 16 years of age or people who were not able to get out and hunt  or fish in 2006. When sportsmen's spending is thought of in business terms and  compared to other sectors of the economy, it is quite remarkable. From small  rural towns scattered across our country’s landscape to the bottom-line of  Fortune 500 companies located in major cities, if you take away hunting and  fishing you take away the equivalent of a multi-billion dollar corporation.

“It  is a fairly simple equation – hunters and anglers mean jobs in states and local  communities that have made the effort to maintain their hunting and fishing  opportunities,” said Crane. “The economic impacts that sportsmen have  on state economies should be a wake-up call to state governments to welcome and  encourage hunting and fishing in their state.”

The report,  “Hunting and Fishing: Bright Stars of the American Economy ~ A force as  big as all outdoors,” was produced by the Congressional  Sportsmen’s Foundation with support from the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers,  National Marine Manufacturers Association, National Shooting Sports Foundation  and SCI - First For Hunters. The report uses the results from the U.S. Fish and  Wildlife Service’s 2006 National Survey  of Fishing, Hunting and Wildlife-Associated Recreation and statistics  provided by the American Sportfishing Association and Association of Fish and  Wildlife Agencies.