A new report from the Southeast Deer Partnership details the multi-billion-dollar impact deer and deer hunting has on jobs, the economy and conservation in 15 states, including Texas.
According to the report, in a typical year, deer hunters in the southeast spend about $8.8 billion on deer hunting.
That money is used to buy items like firearms, ammunition, camping equipment, fuel for vehicles and on expenses like lodging, hunting licenses and meals at restaurants.
The report says with the multiplier effect, with the business’s hunters’ support buying from other businesses, deer hunting has an impact of about $15.8 billion.
That includes a statewide high of $852 million in salaries and wages in Texas.
Deer hunting is also important to some people’s personal finances.
For example, landowners who lease their property to deer hunters make extra income they may otherwise not see.
Hunters who bag a deer and use that venison may not need to spend as much at the meat counter.
According to the report, about half of hunters said saving money in a bad economy had influence on their decision to hunt.
The report also indicates that hunting participation tends to increase during economic downturns.
Deer hunting can also help reduce an overpopulation of deer in an area, which may lead to a decrease in damage to crops.
According to the partnership’s dataset, deer damage to agriculture in the United States was at least $593 million per year between 2015 and 2019.
The damages may be higher, though, as that number only includes damages to corn, soybeans, wheat and cotton.
Habitat and wildlife management
An over-abundance of deer in an area can also lead to over-browsing, which may have a negative impact on forest and habitat regenerations, can harm at-risk plant species and can encourage the growth of invasive plants.
The report indicates that by helping to manage the deer population, landowners and managers can prevent some of this damage or allow a damaged area to begin the recovery process.
For example, deer hunters in the southeast spent $183 million in 2020 on plantings and food plots that attracted deer and other species.
In 2020, Texas deer hunters spent $14.84 million on plantings and food plots, according to Southwick Associates.
Hunters also support state conservation efforts when buying hunting and fishing licenses.
Control of disease
CWD, according to the report, costs wildlife agencies in the U.S. millions of dollars per year.
In the southeast, it’s estimated that agencies spend about $3.97 million annually on CWD testing.
One study found that agencies from 41 states tested 175,478 deer samples in 2018 alone.
Deer hunters play an important role in the detection and monitoring of diseases like CWD.
As hunters submit their deer carcasses to be tested, it gives state wildlife officials a better idea of the spread of the disease so it may be better managed to protect native deer populations.
Health and wellness
The study also included how deer hunting may impact individuals.
It says outdoor activities like hunting act as a natural antidepressant, lower blood pressure and resting heart rate, reduce stress and increase vitamin D uptake.
While the report includes a lot of valuable data, it’s all part of an overall effort to engage non-hunters and share the benefits of deer and deer hunting.
“Only 4 to 5% of our population buys a hunting license, but there are a lot of other people out there that value wildlife.
BROWN COUNTY LIVESTOCK/WILDLIFE PRODUCERS MEETING JAN. 30
Monday January 30th is the date of the next meeting of the Brown County Livestock/Wildlife Producers Association. It will be held at the Brown County Extension Office located at 605 Fisk Avenue in Brownwood. The meeting will begin at 6:00pm. During the meeting there will be an update from wildlife services concerning predator and nuisance wildlife management efforts in Brown County.
If you own/manage land in Brown County, are involved in livestock production or have an interest in wildlife management you are invited to attend this January 30th meeting. There is no registration fee to attend.