FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Sportsmen, Retailers, and Business Leaders Join Forces to Promote Hunting
New South Dakota Partnership to highlight hunting’s economic impact
(SIOUX FALLS, SD) – With hunting seasons now open, most South Dakotans are expecting to see a lot of orange in all corners of the state. But, in many parts of the state, people will also be seeing a lot of green. As in the color of money. Hunting Works For South Dakota, a newly formed organization, plans on educating the public, policy makers and the media about the important relationship between hunting and the overall economy of South Dakota.
“Without a doubt, hunting is a major driver of our state’s economy,” said Holly Glover, executive director of the Gregory Dallas Area Chamber of Commerce and a Hunting Works For South Dakota co-chair. “Hunter spending benefits locally-owned businesses like hardware stores, gas stations, restaurants, hotels and countless others across the state. A lot of people simply don’t realize the impact this spending has on our economy.”
Hunting touches all aspects of South Dakota’s economy in all corners of the state, including all cities and towns like Aberdeen, Rapid City, Sioux Falls and Watertown as well as Kimball, Winner, Gregory and Wall.
“South Dakota has over 270,000 hunters a year with a significant number coming from out of state to participate in our world-class hunting. At the Sioux Falls Convention and Visitors Bureau, we get it. That’s why we do everything we can to pull out the stops during the rooster rush,” said Teri Schmidt, executive director of the Sioux Falls Convention and Visitors Bureau and co-chair of Hunting Works For South Dakota. “We understand that a lot of hunters are staying and dining and spending money in Sioux Falls when they first arrive in our state. We want to make sure that hunter tourists feel welcome so that they keep returning and hopefully bring more hunters with them with each return visit.”
Kevin Nyberg, owner of Nyberg’s Ace Hardware and co-chair of Hunting Works For South Dakota echoed that sentiment.
“It’s no secret that hunting is a big deal for a lot of people in South Dakota. I personally see the strength of our hunting heritage every year,” said Nyberg. “There is something really great about seeing second and third generations coming into the store preparing to go out hunting together. There’s nothing more special than to hear years of memories created through family hunting traditions.”
“Spending by hunters is significant in South Dakota,” said Katie Knutson, director of the Mitchell Convention and Visitors Bureau and a Hunting Works For South Dakota co-chair. “The truth is that hunters spend over $300 million a year on trips and $115 million a year on equipment here in South Dakota.”
“All of this points to hunting as being good for families, businesses, and, quite frankly, it’s good for our state and local economy,” added Nyberg. “That’s evidenced by the fact that hunter spending surpasses $723 million a year, supports over 11,000 jobs in our state and $302 million in salaries and wages and generates $62 million in state and local taxes. That benefits everyone.”
All told, the Congressional Sportsmen’s foundation puts the economic impact of those 270,000-plus hunters at $972 million in South Dakota.
While the economic contributions of hunters are considerable, hunters’ dollars also pay for a large portion of conservation efforts. Thanks to the Pittman-Robertson Act, hunters pay an 11 percent excise tax on equipment sales that is used to conserve and restore habitat.
“Hunters in South Dakota aren’t just supporting businesses, they are also supporting conservation,” said Jeff Boer, host of Wild Dakota Outdoor Television and one of the co-chairs of Hunting Works For South Dakota. “The money hunters spend on their licenses, stamps, and the taxes they pay on equipment is all earmarked for conservation. Our conservation model is based on hunters and the money they spend, without them we would not have the beautiful wild places we have today.”
Hunting Works For South Dakota and its partners will be active in the state, attending events and educating the public and elected officials on why hunting and the shooting sports are so important to the local and state economy.
“South Dakota is best known for our pheasant season, as well as some of the best upland, waterfowl and big game hunting in North America,” said Casey Weismantel executive director of the Aberdeen Convention and Visitors Bureau, and co-chair of Hunting Works For South Dakota. “In our area we welcome hunters and hunter dollars. We want to help tell the story of the larger economic impact that this sport has on the greater Aberdeen area and the state as a whole.”
The newly formed Hunting Works For South Dakota partnership has over 50 partner organizations and will be adding dozens more in the weeks and months to come. The effort is supported by sporting organizations such as the National Shooting Sports Foundation.
“We all benefit from a robust hunting industry,” said Karla Brozik, executive director of the Winner Chamber of Commerce and a co-chair of Hunting Works For South Dakota. “It’s a great way to see the outdoors, spend time with friends and family, and to support our local businesses.”
Hunting Works For South Dakota is a local grassroots partnership of organizations focused on hunting and the economics derived from these activities. Hunting Works For South Dakota members are advocates for public policy who support jobs and economic prosperity. As a grassroots organization we explain the role that hunting and the shooting sports play in both the heritage and economic health of South Dakota.