BARRE, Vt. – On Oct. 24, flanked by store owners, hunting, and angling groups and supporters of outdoor recreation, Gov. Phil Scott recognized the important contribution hunting, fishing, and related activities have in strengthening and diversifying Vermont’s economy.
“Vermont has a rich history of hunting and angling, extending back before we were even a state. It’s a major part of our way of life,” said Gov. Scott. “For me it was a family tradition, and I encourage more Vermonters who have an interest to get out there and try it. Take your son, daughter, niece, nephew, cousin, or mentee, and learn what the tradition is all about.”
A new report by the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Bureau of Economic Analysis finds that Vermont is fourth among states when measured by contribution of outdoor recreation to Gross Domestic Product.
“Recreation in Vermont’s forests, fields, and waterways plays a significant role in our economy,” Gov. Scott added. “This new analysis shows, once again, how important hunting, fishing, shooting, and related activities are to our state.”
In Vermont, hunting, shooting, and trapping is the second largest sector of outdoor recreation, after snow sports. Fishing, boating, and related activities were measured separately, and were fifth among outdoor recreational activities. Overall, more than 17,000 Vermonters work in outdoor recreation according to the report.
“Wildlife-based recreation is a huge part of Vermont’s economy, and what makes our state special,” said Louis Porter, commissioner of the Vermont Fish and Wildlife Department. “Each year, nearly 80,000 people are licensed to hunt in Vermont, and more than 132,000 are licensed to fish.”
One important aspect of the contribution of hunting and fishing in Vermont is that much of the economic activity occurs in small and medium sized businesses, which are often located in more rural parts of Vermont.
“From game check-in stations located in stores to sporting good stores to meat cutters, many Vermonters own, manage, or work in small businesses like ours, which depend on hunters, anglers, and trappers,” said Theresa Elmer, co-owner of Mountain Deer Taxidermy in Northfield. “These businesses are important parts of their rural communities which don’t have all the economic opportunities which exist in Vermont’s more urban areas.”
Another important part of the economic contribution of hunting and fishing is the local, sustainable and healthy food provided through these activities. Hunting of the state’s big game species alone provided more than 4 million servings of food in Vermont in 2018, according to a Vermont Fish and Wildlife analysis.