Outdoors Notebook: Hunters, anglers add $1.5 billion to state economy

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Hunting and fishing is big business in Pennsylvania. In 2011, 1.42 million men and women who hunted or fished in the state spent $1.5 billion on outdoors trips and equipment, with miscellaneous "ripple effect" expenses of $2.5 billion in the Keystone State. Collectively, they supported 24,797 jobs.

A report issued last week by the Congressional Sportsmen's Foundation, which provides information, support and guidance to federal and state legislators, said the impact of traditional outdoors hobbyists on the state's economy was "tremendous."

The $1.5 billion in 2011, group president Jeff Crane said in a written statement, "is more than the [$1.23 billion] combined receipts for corn and cattle, the state's No. 2 and No. 3 agricultural commodities, that year."

The Pennsylvania statistics were culled from the CSF's annual national report, which was based on analysis of nationwide and statewide hunting and fishing data collected for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's 2011 National Survey of Fishing, Hunting and Wildlife Associated Recreation.

To further illustrate the impact of hunting and fishing on Pennsylvania's economy, the report noted that the number of hunters and anglers in the state is nearly the same as the population of Philadelphia (1.5 million) and more than the 2011 total home-game attendance of the Philadelphia Eagles (1.28 million) and Pittsburgh Steelers (1.06 million). Pennsylvania hunters and anglers support roughly the same number of jobs as Penn State University (25,000), the third largest employer in the state.

Nationwide, more than 37 million hunters and anglers, an increase from 2010, spent $90 billion on hunting and fishing in the United States in 2011.

"Many people may not fully comprehend how important hunting and fishing are to the fabric of this country," said Crane. "Yet nationally, there are more people who hunt or fish than go bowling, and their spending would land them at No. 24 on the Fortune 500 list."

Including license and permit fees, excise taxes on hunting and fishing gear, and membership contributions to conservation organizations, the report said American hunters and anglers invested an additional $3 billion in wildlife and habitat conservation and restoration efforts in 2011.

New trout regulations

Before getting on the water in 2013, take a close look at the Pennsylvania Fishing Summary digest regarding rules for the new waterways designation, Approved Trout Waters Open to Year-Round Fishing. In those areas, from Jan.1 through Feb. 28 and Sept. 3 through Dec. 31, extended season sizes, seasons and creel limits apply. From 8 a.m. April 13 through Sept. 2, Commonwealth inland seasons, sizes and creel limits apply.

Waters listed under the new designation are open to fishing March 1 through the opening day of trout season, but no trout may be taken or possessed on these waters during this period. A trout-salmon permit is not required to fish in lakes and ponds with the designation unless the angler takes, kills or possesses, while in the act of fishing, a trout or salmon on or in these waters.

Steelhead stocking

Good news for winter steelheaders. The state Fish and Boat Commission reports that hundreds of adult steelhead were recently stocked by the Fairview Hatchery on Walnut Creek (Walnut Creek Access Area), Crooked Creek (Glosky Road), East Branch Conneaut Creek (Albion Fair Grounds) Mill Creek (Ore Dock Road) and Four Mile Creek adjacent to the General Electric plant.

Alaskan flies

Angler John Brown shows slides from his fishing trip to the Kenai Peninsula, and Ron Milavec demonstrates tying for Alaska salmon at the next meeting of the Upper St. Clair Fly Fishing Club, 7 p.m. Monday at USC Municipal Building library multi-purpose room. 412-835-6107.

Meet the editor

Visit with Post-Gazette outdoors editor John Hayes next Sunday at the Cabin Fever fly fishing expo at Four Points by Sheraton Pittsburgh North, Marshall. Find him at the Post-Gazette booth 10-11 a.m. and 1-3 p.m.

Deer photos

Readers have logged nearly 60,000 page views of self-published deer-harvest photos on the Post-Gazette's website. To view and rate photos, or to post your own, go to www.post-gazette.com/sports/outdoors, click the Deer Photos box on the right and follow the prompts.

Fishing Report

Find the Fishing Report, a weekly regional fishing outlook, Fridays in Sports and at post-gazette.com/sports/outdoors.

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