THERE is a daily deluge of news coming out that impacts the men and women who participate in hunting and the varied shooting sports.
Some of the news is good, but the majority should be setting off alarms to West Virginians who partake in all the shooting sports.
I am wondering, are they taking a nap or in a deep sleep, because the silence is eerie.
West Virginian, as a state, has one of the highest participation rates in America for hunting and shooting sports. One in every seven West Virginians shoots a bow and arrow, meaning this state has an archery participation rate of 14.5 percent. Firearms participation is considerably higher.
The National Shooting Sports Foundation did a survey in 2011 that found there were nearly 247,000 hunters in our state.
Those numbers contribute to an economic impact of $421 million with the state tax department collecting $35 million in taxes from the retail sales associated with hunting.
Remarkably, the majority of those tax monies, $21 million, come from deer hunting season.
The excise tax coffers have been filling from the taxes imposed. Nationwide, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service 2011 National Survey of Fishing, Hunting and Wildlife-Associated Recreation reports 13.7 million people aged 16 or older - approximately 6 percent of the United States population - went hunting that year and spent a whopping $38.3 billion on equipment, licenses, trips and lodging.
Then there are the shooting sports: trap, skeet, five stand, pistol and rifle shooting and competitions. It all adds up to a booming industry - pun intended! All these shooters put their money up and pay taxes, on top of the normal state sales taxes, to support their sport.
Firearms sales have been increasing the last five years, not only in West Virginia but in the majority of states.
Ammunition shortages have been rampant for the last three years as citizens, fearful that governments were going to restrict access, began to hoard.