Hunting in the province of B.C generates $350 million in economic activity annually, according to the provincial government. That figure includes resident and non-resident hunters. As far as non-resident hunters go, there are about 5,000 that come to B.C. annually. That generates $120 million and employs 2,000 people in the guide outfitting industry. From a resident standpoint on average, there are over 100,000 licenses sold each year, which generates $7.2 million in fees and species permits alone. Fairly recent annual stats showed that in B.C., hunters bought and paid for 40,000 moose tags, 25,000 elk tags, 51,000 whitetail tags, 79,000 mule deer tags and over 18,000 sheep tags.
About 84 per cent of the Habitat Conservation Trust Foundation’s annual budget is supplied in the form of a portion of provincial surcharges which are applied to both hunting and fishing licenses. That money is then distributed each year to organizations which conduct habitat restoration, and for initiating conservation efforts for any given species.
If all hunting was banned, as some of the radical organizations out there would certainly like to see, all of that work done by hunter-supported organizations would be lost, and wildlife populations in general would be dramatically affected. Without hunters and their annual contributions, cash strapped governments would likely never find the necessary monies to put towards the resource itself.
Ducks Unlimited, for example, has completed more than a thousand conservation projects in B.C. over the last four and a half decades. An impressive figure, to say the least. The B.C. Wildlife Federation’s members contribute over 300,000 volunteer hours a year to conservation work alone. East and West Kootenay clubs and organizations donate countless time and money every single year to worthwhile conservation projects.They are proud of their efforts and rightly so, because they will, over the long term, put a lot more back into the resource than they ever could conceivably take out.
It’s difficult for anyone who is reasonable to argue the economic benefits that hunting brings to particularly, the rural areas of B.C. It’s not just licenses and tags of course. Hunters inject large quantities of revenue into the economy, by purchasing rifles and bows, scopes, binoculars, ammunition, trail-cams, food and beverages, and all other outdoor related gear, including 4-by-4s and ATVs. Then there’s the gas tanks to fill, and for the visitors to each management area there are motels, hotels, campgrounds, etc., to pay for, and of course the butcher shops to process our wild game. All of these expenditures have a huge ripple effect in the retail chain, helping to maintain job opportunities for many thousands of people across the province.
Hunters do pay their way, and hunting is of considerable relevance and importance to the economy. Sadly though, there are individuals and groups that disagree with the overall benefits of hunting in general. They seem to get a lot of attention as we often see and hear about them in the mainstream media, and on the internet. While I do respect their right to their opinions, what is usually lacking when they present them, is what they actually contributed to the resource in any given year. Just giving an opinion is not enough in my books.
F.J. Hurtak is the author of the books ‘Elk Hunting in the Kootenays’, and ‘Hunting the Antlered Big Game of the Kootenays’, available at selected retailers in B.C. and Alberta.
All profits go to habitat enhancement and land for wildlife.