This past June, Representative Bell and a bipartisan group of more than one hundred members of the General Assembly joined Bass Pro Shops founder Johnny Morris, Richard Childress (of Richard Childress Racing and owner of Childress Vineyards), Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation President Jeff Crane, Governor Pat McCrory and many other distinguished supporters of our sportsmen’s community at the home of Frank and Judy Grainger in Cary for the annual North Carolina Legislative Sportsmen’s Advisory Council Dinner. Over 250 people were in attendance.
This spectacular event is held every year by the North Carolina Legislative Sportsmen’s Caucus Advisory Council and the North Carolina Legislative Sportsmen’s Caucus to celebrate North Carolina’s rich outdoor heritage and provide an evening of camaraderie that promotes the economic impact of hunting and angling in the state of North Carolina. A silent auction and raffle raised funds to help the Caucus continue in its mission to protect and promote sportsmen’s issues in the North Carolina General Assembly.
Ten “Action Trackchairs,” all-terrain wheelchairs designed and built to increase recreational opportunities (including hunting and angling) for the physically handicapped, were sold for $10,200 each for a total of $105,000. Each Action Trackchair was then donated to the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission to be paired with the Commission’s existing ten hydraulic-lift deer stands, giving increased access to those with mobility impairments.
Among the North Carolina Legislative Sportsmen’s Caucus’s other recent successes is a new law sponsored by Representative Bell that establishes a “hunter apprenticeship permit” to provide a needed avenue for increased hunter recruitment and retention.
The legislation allows an individual holding a “Hunting Heritage Apprentice Permit” to hunt if accompanied by an adult at least 18 years old who also holds a North Carolina hunting license, or if the individual is accompanied by an adult landholder or landholder’s spouse who is exempt from the hunting license requirement if hunting on the landholder’s land. The Hunter Heritage Apprentice Permit is a product of the Wildlife Commission’s “Strategic Recruitment and Retention Initiative,” recently organized by Wildlife Resources Commissioner Dell Murphy.
This new law is intended to increase participation in hunting by allowing individuals to hunt under the guidance of licensed hunters — instead of requiring them to complete bureaucratic coursework.1
Sportsmen and women spent $90 billion nationally in 2011 — thatʼs more than the combined global sales of Appleʼs iPhone and iPad for the same year.2
1.63 million people (residents and non-residents) hunted or fished in North Carolina in 2011, about the same as the combined populations of the cities of Raleigh and Durham (1.63 million vs. 1.7 million). The number of people who fished in North Carolina in 2011 is more than the total home attendance for the Carolina Panthers and the Charlotte Bobcats combined (1.52 million anglers vs. 1.06 million fans).
Sportsmen and women spent $2.3 billion on hunting and fishing in North Carolina in 2011 – thatʼs almost as much as the revenue for hog farming, the second highest grossing agricultural commodity in that year ($2.3 billion vs. $2.5 billion). And hunters and anglers support more jobs in North Carolina than the combined employment of Merrill Lynch & Company, Inc. and Nortel Networks Corporation, the two largest employers in the state (35,088 vs. 25,000 combined jobs).
Spending by sportsmen and women in North Carolina generated almost $250 million in state and local taxes in 2011 — and that’s enough to support the average salaries of 6,054 police and sheriff’s patrol officers.3
1. NC Wildlife Resources Commission: “Apprentice Hunting Program Approved by North Carolina House“
2. Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation: “An Outdoor Nation“