Hunting Season Could Mean Big Bucks for Alabama Sporting Retailers

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By Brittany Bivins

Hunting season is just weeks away, and that means many local sporting goods retailers are stocking their shelves for the annual rush on hunting gear. It's a spending season that makes a big impact for retailers' bottom lines.

67 billion dollars. That's the total economic impact from the hunting industry in the United States, according to the Assocation of Fish and Wildlife Agencies.

Alabama is the fifth largest consumer of hunting equipment in the nation. At Bass Pro Shops in Prattville, traffic is steady, even in slower economic times. "People still want to get out to the outdoors. They might be scrutinizing and watching their dollars a little bit, but they're still coming in and they're still spending and they're spending more than they have in prior years," said Eric Alford, General Manager.

It's something hunters tell us they'll continue to do to keep up with the sport. "Deer processing's gone up, gas has gone up, hunting lease has gone up, taxes, but that's the prices I'm willing to pay to do what I enjoy," said James Miller, who was stocking up on bullets.

Still other hunters say they're cutting back on wants to make room for the necessities. "I guess with my retail spending, just the price of corn and everything else that goes along with hunting, I guess I don't spend as much on clothes and that sort of stuff," said Jeremy Baxley.

However, local sporting shops are hoping customers won't cut back too much, because spending on this season is vital to the bottom line. "With hunting, it's a lot easier to make the big bucks, because a bow goes for several hundred dollars and it takes a whole lot of rooster tails to make up the price of a single bow or a set of carbon-shafted arrows," said Alford.

According to the Association of Fish and Wildlife Agency, the hunting industry employs more than a million people across the country. More than 16,000 of those jobs are in Alabama.

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