To the editor:
About this time of year I begin to see the telltale signs that hunting season is just about to begin in Iowa. Some signs are more subtle than others and because I own Keith's Outdoors in Fort Dodge I tend to see them before most.
To hunters this time of year is like the beginning of the rut for a deer, something in the air changes, a switch flips and our hunting gene turns on. For my customers, every year about this time the browsing intensity at the store picks up. Hunters are always on the prowl, looking for a new firearm or the latest in technology or gear but it's not just sporting goods store like mine where they spend their money.
Resident and nonresident hunters spend money and lots of it on meals, supplies, lodging, gas, licenses and the list goes on. The revenue supplied by hunters provides many of us with jobs. And the taxes hunters pay are in the millions. According to the Congressional Sportsman Foundation, Iowa hunters annually pay nearly $24 million in local and state taxes and the sport has a nearly $360 million ripple effect on the state economy. That's huge industry and one that should not be taken lightly or be under appreciated.
Many Iowans do not typically associate hunting with its contribution to the local economy but it is, in reality, a major contributor that deserves recognition. Iowa needs its hunters, maybe now more than ever.