Hunters, anglers bring in the bucks |

Hunters, anglers bring in the bucks

Hunting and fishing are big business in western Colorado, rivaling the ski industry in their economic impact.Hunting and fishing are big business in western Colorado, rivaling the ski industry in their economic impact.A new report from the Colorado Division of Wildlife, “The Economic Impacts of Hunting, Fishing and Wildlife Watching in Colorado,” compiled data from 2002. The study found that hunting, fishing and wildlife watching contributed an estimated $1.5 billion to Colorado’s economy in 2002, and supported 20,000 jobs.The data are based on how much hunters, anglers and wildlife watchers – including those from outside the state – spent on getting to their destinations, what they spent on sporting equipment and also how much the DOW spent on supporting those activities. It also factored in the secondary impacts of those dollars as they trickle through the local economy.With its world-class elk and deer herds and gold-medal fishing, Garfield County comes in ninth in the state for economic benefits.In Garfield County, hunters and anglers spent $30 million in 2002. Secondary spending was $23 million, according to the report.”People don’t realize the impact that hunting and fishing have,” said Pat Tucker, a DOW area wildlife manager based in Glenwood Springs.Both sports have a wider-ranging and longer-lasting economic benefit, he said.”The ski industry is not only concentrated in a few months of the year, but is really concentrated in a few areas,” he said. “If you look at hunting and fishing and wildlife watching, they’re year-round activities, and most of them happen all across the state.”The elk herd that lives north of Glenwood Springs to Meeker – the largest in the country – draws sizable numbers of hunters each year, Tucker said.”We still have a healthy and abundant population of mule deer … and lots of public land where these animals live, and hunters are able to have access to them,” he said.Fishing has an even larger impact on Garfield County. In 2002, anglers spent $12 million in the county compared to about $11 on elk hunting.”A lot of people come here to hike and fish and hunt besides skiing,” said Dave York, owner of Roaring Fork Outfitters of Glenwood Springs, which offers guided fishing trips on area rivers.York said he had a client come in Thursday who’d spent a day skiing and wanted to book a fishing trip.Fishing season begins in mid-March and lasts through September or October, York said. “Then there’s winter fishing when it’s less crowded and (there is) really excellent fishing on warmer days.”Contact Donna Gray: 945-8515, ext.

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