Commonwealth Journal

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November 21, 2006

Deer hunters rack up ‘big bucks’ for economy

BECKLEY, W.Va. — Monday was the start of West Virginia’s two-week gun-buck season and it doesn’t only mean big bucks for hunters, it’s economic impact also means “big bucks” for West Virginia.

“It’s one of the biggest economic events in West Virginia, the opening day of gun-buck season,” said Hoy Murphy, public information officer with the West Virginia Division of Natural Resources. “From sporting goods to hospitality services, hunters boost sales in the Mountain State.”

Murphy says hunting is a multimillion dollar industry in West Virginia.

“The overall deer season, which also includes muzzleloading and archery hunting, brings in around $233 million in economic impact a year to our state’s economy,” he said. “That’s a considerable sum.”

Hunters have spent the past week buying ammunition and warm clothes for the upcoming season.

“That can mean a temporary economic boost for sporting goods stores and other service industries,” Murphy said. “Hunters will not only buy hunting supplies, but food and gas and some will even stay in hotels.”

Murphy says hunting season is especially important to many rural communities.

“A large amount of their annual incomes comes from this hunting season,” he said. “Many rural businesses are depending on it, but no matter what business you’re in, you benefit by deer hunting season in West Virginia.”

Murphy said the DNR is seeing an increase in deer hunting across all ages and genders.

“We see many hunting parties with a father, son and a grandfather,” he said. “It’s our heritage and is passed down from generation to generation. And now we are seeing an increase in the interest of hunting from females and children.”

Murphy says the DNR sells about 320,000 hunting licenses each year.

“We estimate about one-third to one-fourth of all West Virginia households have at least one hunting license,” he explained. “Many households have four or five.”

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