SPRINGFIELD, Mo -- Hunting caters to hundreds of thousands of people every year in Missouri. Those hunters bring in some big bucks.
A new initiative has lauched to promote the great outdoors across the state.
It's called the "Hunting Works for Missouri" initiative. It's estimated that a single hunter spends more than $1,800 per season on trip related expenses. Those behind the initiative believe the economic impact hunters have has been kept in the shadows for too long, and it's their mission to bring it to light.
"I introduced hunting at a young age, now he has introduced it to our grandsons at a young age," said Bucks and Spurs Ranch owner Cecil Huff.
The "Hunting Works for Missouri" initiative is spreading the word in the Show-Me-State--hunting is more than just a hobby, it is a major player in the economy.
"More and more you see a more visible footprint that hunting makes," said Missouri Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Dan Mehan.
"For me personally, not being a hunter, it's good to see the jobs that it brings to this area," said Clear Creek Vehicles Polaris Brand Manager Sam Ringenberg.
It brought a big boost to Springfield based Clear Creek Vehicles this spring. "We had a 143% increase in the six weeks leading up to turkey season," said Ringenberg.
They aren't alone.
It's estimated that some 600,000 people hunt in Missouri every year. They spend more than a billion dollars. It really makes a big difference for local economies…--year there was some $97 million dollars in state and local taxes because of hunting.
"At a time right now, that this week the House and Senate of Missouri are trying to figure out the state's budget, that's an important chunk of change," said Mehan.
"There is a multiplier effect to it. One, it's the equipment that you use. Secondly, it's how you get yourself outdoors. Thirdly, it's where you stay and gas that you buy. It's groceries," said Bass Pro Shops Spokesman Martin MacDonald.
With tourism dollars on the chopping block in Jefferson City, "Hunting Works for Missouri" is stepping in to make sure we don't forget about the great outdoors.
"We just can't take this for granted. It's an important part of our heritage in Missouri, it's an important part of our economy," said Mehan.
This is also about policy at the state level. The initiative was partially created to advocate for public policy that supports jobs surrounding hunting and the outdoors.
Right now there are more than 50 partners involved. They expect it to grow as more people learn about it.