By DOUG CORRIGAN
Hunting season is here again, and whether a person participates or not, the economic impact hunting has is noteworthy.
The hunting season begins in early September with the bow hunts and continues until late January when the waterfowl hunt closes. Across the United States millions of hunters are going afield this fall. They will provide 75 percent of the income for the 50 state conservation agencies.
Besides paying for hunting licenses and donating to special organizations such as Ducks Unlimited, hunters spend a lot of money on their way to the woods.
The store manager for a major national supermarket chain in Richfield said he estimates a 30 percent increase in sales on the opening weekend of the deer hunt. He said other businesses such as gas stations and restaurants experience an even more dramatic increase in sales.
On the other hand, Carl Crosby, manager of the Richfield Kmart, said the hunt impacts their sales in the sporting goods department but nowhere else.
Many businesses have been affected by recent changes in big game regulations.
Some business owners complained.
Assistant manager at Barrat’s Food Town in Salina said the sales in recent years are nothing compared to a few years ago.
The opening weekend of the deer hunt used to be huge, even bigger than the Fourth of July weekend, he said.
After a harsh winter in 1993 reportedly killed an uncommon number of deer, the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources changed some regulations. They divided Utah into areas and sold a limited number of permits for each area.
They also cut the number of “non-resident” permits available.
Scott Root of the DWR said out-of-staters have to apply through the mail for a fewer number of permits.
The “mom and pop” stores probably suffered the most, Root said.
The division’s first responsibility is to protect the animals.
The deer are making a real comeback. The deer hunt has been much better since the changes, Root said.