Justin Minyard

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Hunting, Fishing Help Mississippi’s Economy

MSU Nelms

Kevin Nelms, a wildlife biologist with the Natural Resources Conservation Service, talks about land management practices for quail at a Mississippi State University Extension Service landowner workshop in Benton, Miss., hosted by Field Quest Farms. (File Photo)

By Daryl Jones
MSU Extension Service

STARKVILLE, Miss. — Outdoor recreation in Mississippi provides income not only for those who own the land, but also for the state as a whole.

That’s because economic impact is not limited to the first person who receives money for goods or services. Every dollar spent has direct effects, but it also has indirect and induced effects.

For example, when you purchase an automobile at your local dealership, that money directly supports the economic status of the dealership. As the dealership sells more automobiles, it must order more automobiles to maintain inventory and to meet customer demand.

In turn, vehicle manufacturers must hire designers and engineers, purchase or create parts and components and service new vehicles. Additionally, the industry requires other outside services: legal, computing, financial, advertising and healthcare. These latter activities are the indirect and induced economic impacts of the dollars originally spent at the local dealership.

In other words, some economic effects are immediate and local, while others happen later and reach farther. As these dollars move through the economy affecting different sectors, the overall effect of your purchase is multiplied upward, yielding an overall economic impact.

So just how much money does outdoor recreation bring into Mississippi? How much money do hunting, fishing, bird watching and agritourism bring into the state in a given year?

The U.S. Department of the Interior conducted a national survey in 2006 to examine spending for hunting, fishing and wildlife-watching in the country. Adjusting for inflation to 2013 levels, the overall economic impact to Mississippi from outdoor recreation totals $2.9 billion annually.

The survey reported that 304,000 residents and visitors spent a total of $561 million on hunting in Mississippi. These direct expenditures translate to an estimated $1.3 billion in economic impact to the state. About 508,000 residents and nonresidents spent $264 million on fishing in the state, producing an estimated $745 million in economic impact. Approximately 246,000 individuals spent $190 million on wildlife watching, accounting for $853 million in economic impact to the state.

In addition to these estimates, outdoor outfitters, agritourism farms and charter-boat operators contributed more than $50 million in economic impact to Mississippi.

Much of the direct economic impact comes from outdoor recreation fees paid to private Mississippi landowners.

Outdoor recreation benefits the state’s economic wellbeing and its natural resources. It also enhances income and conservation opportunities on privately owned lands in the state.

The Natural Resource Enterprises (NRE) Program with the MSU Extension Service was created to educate landowners about sustainable natural resource enterprises — hunting, angling and wildlife watching — and compatible land management practices. To learn more about ways to initiate fee-access outdoor recreation and conservation on your lands, please visit http://www.naturalresources.msstate.edu.