Hunting participation is in a decline in Alabama, with fewer people across the state involved in this long tradition.
It may come as a big surprise to outdoorsmen in the state, but hunting is in a decline with less than 4% of residences having bought a hunting license last year.
It seems hunter numbers are dropping as peoples’ leisure time is becoming increasingly taken up with other activities. Still, a $1.1 billion dollar industry in Alabama, hunting continues to fund conservation and a large chunk of the economy, however the decreases are still a cause for concern.
The Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources also relies almost exclusively on revenue generated from license permit fees to fund conservation and management for both game and fish along with important conservation initiatives.
To address these concerns a partnership of sports organizations, outdoors businesses and tourism have formed Hunting Works For Alabama. This concerned group looks to better educate the public on the importance of hunting to the states’ economy. The organizations co-chair, Tim Wood, had this to say at a recent news conference:
“We want to make sure that the hunters as well as the non-hunters know that we are contributing to Alabama’s economy, and we support even non-hunters with the taxes we pay and the goods and wares that we buy. Without the hunting and the fishing industry, it would be devastating in many counties in the state.”
The importance of hunting cannot be overstated, and without it many counties within the state would be in serious financial straits. They’re clearly hurt without this revenue stream coming into local businesses. Pam Swanner, another co-chair of Hunting Works For Alabama, highlighted the importance of hunting:
“The money hunters spend to hunt, on their licenses, stamps and the taxes they pay on equipment is all earmarked for conservation. More than most anyone else, hunters are the people paying to keep the outdoors wild and free for everyone else.”
The link between hunters and a healthy economy and robust conservation effort is not always understood by the general public, and many do not know that hunters and anglers almost singlehandedly fund and protect the natural environment that all people enjoy.
With much work to do moving forward, it seems many in Alabama will continue to educate the public and champion initiatives to increase hunter numbers in the state.