The Chatter Class: Saying Tennesseans hunt is like saying they watch football

Wednesday, December 19, 2007 at 11:49pm

Guess what? Tennesseans spend gobs of money on hunting and fishing stuff and, because of that, employ untold numbers of people.

Under the category of “Hey look we’re important, too,” the Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation has done a study that shows that the state’s 775,000 hunters and anglers spend $1.3 billion a year. That’s like pushing out a press release with a blaring headline that states Tennesseans like football.

The figures on Tennessee’s spending were part of a national study the organization released titled “Hunting and Fishing: Bright Stars of the American Economy — A force as big as all the outdoors.” Texas topped the list of number of sportsmen, 2.6 million, and impact, $6.6 million.

There’s no doubt that hunting and fishing enthusiasts spend a lot of dough. An angler would like nothing better than to see a $40,000 tricked-out bass boat in the driveway for Christmas. And, a hunter somewhere will see a gun under the tree more powerful than Ralphie’s Red Rider Air Rifle.

But the spate of economic impact studies over the years with their grandiose statements to drive home the point of a particular group’s importance may well be diminishing the impact of the impact study.

Studies now are being received with a roll of the eyes as those who ordered the study deliver it with straight faces. The aim is more about showing importance to push a political agenda than anything else. With sportsmen, its gun rights, conservation and environmental issues and basically protecting the ability to hunt and fish.

The sportsmen’s study is especially entertaining and far exceeds the Nashville airport’s impact study last month in grandiosity. Everything is enormous, astounding and more than some other activity.

Going beyond the title’s “big as all the outdoors,” for example, the study notes that Tennessee sportsmen support more jobs than the combination of Nissan’s plant in Decherd, Gaylord Opryland Resort & Convention Center, Saturn and Spencer-based convenience store operator Parkway Southside.

The comparison smacks of looking at some of the state’s top employers and selectively adding up recognizable names to get the desired number for comparison, which is 22,500 to 22,200.

More people hunt and fish than go to Tennessee Titans games and the spending exceeds the revenue of three of the state’s fastest growing companies.

Going national, spending by hunters and anglers exceeds the combined revenues of Microsoft, Google, eBay and Yahoo, $76 billion compared to $73.6 billion. That $76 billion would rank it 57th in the world in terms of Gross Domestic Product of a country, according to the study.

The source wasn’t included but based on World Bank 2006 rankings, the sportsmen GDP actually would fall 56th behind Kazakhstan and ahead of Bangladesh.

What would an impact study be with out the multiplier effect? Nationally, the $76 billion spent ripples to $192 billion.

Everyone knows it’s a lot of money whenever billion is behind the number. There isn’t much need to embellish it.

Still, it’s doubtful the studies will end. Coming soon: An economic impact study on impact studies.

Contact the author at rlawson@nashvillecitypaper.com

Filed under: City Business
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By: KILLREDNECKS on 12/31/69 at 7:00

The problem with american is this disease that you Hicks have. Hunting should be banned. even better, take out some hunbters. yay1 They make great roasts. What kind of a freak kills a defenseless animal? An american hick freak.Sick bastards.Cowards. You want to hunt something ? Go take care of all the other hicks in this filthy country.

By: nativenash on 12/31/69 at 7:00

Hey KILLREDNECKS,you are an absolute disgrace to the human race. You liberal wackos say you are for peace and goodwill to mankind. You are no better than the (Hicks) you spew your hatred for. I am proud to be from Tennessee. If you don't like it here, move back to San Francisco.

By: NashDavis on 12/31/69 at 7:00

Richard Lawson is such a bad writer. This story is a waste of ink.

By: jasonweaver on 12/31/69 at 7:00

I thought it was a funny look at yet another impact study. From what I can tell, the posters on these forums don't like many of the writers here unless they write a story that the poster agrees with. Then they are best writer there ever was.

By: MJB on 12/31/69 at 7:00

Jason, that's not true of me. My agreeing with the story has no relation to its quality. Where have you seen people here change their tune about a writer simply when they agree w/ him/her?

By: jasonweaver on 12/31/69 at 7:00

Can't point to a specific one per se. But I'll use you as an example. You probably didn't see my post on who thought was a good writer. One was Kreyling. I don't recall Dana Pride. You think she's a good writer and I think she's awful. I suspect that part of the reason you think she's a good writer is that you agree with her in what she writes. I'm oversimplyfing because things are always deeper than that. I'm sure you'll correct me if I'm wrong on that view. I don't think she's a good writer because her stuff to me just plods along and seems to intentionally try to show how smart she thinks she is. Lawson is just a smart a**. Some people like that and others don't. With what he wrote this time, he's just picking at yet another economic impact study.

By: chakracon on 12/31/69 at 7:00

I don't think killrednecks should go back to sanfrancisco. I'm thinking more alont the lines of compton or harlem or atlanta or memphis or the middle east or mexico

By: Curmudgeon on 12/31/69 at 7:00

My opinion - the article sucks. It's not a 'news' story... it's an OpEd piece. Richard Lawson is playing to the anti-hunter, by mocking a statistical piece issueced by an industry association. Would he mock a similar piece issued by a church association, or a local chamber of commerce, or an industry association which was not associated with a personal dislike of Richard's? Reporter's should report, not mock, not offer their personal biases as 'facts.' Building a statistical case to show that this industry is not as important as it's press release says... might be reporting, perhaps even newsworthy. Mocking the press release is not!

By: jasonweaver on 12/31/69 at 7:00

Curmudgeon... That's exactly what it is, a column. If you read it more closely, he's not mocking hunters or anglers. He's mocking an over the top study. These things come out all the time. He noted the recent airport study, which Gail Kerr mocked. Does that mean he's anit-airport too? I went and looked at the report myself and I have to say, I agree that it's over the top for one of these studies. Here it is:http://www.nssf.org/07report/

By: Curmudgeon on 12/31/69 at 7:00

Thanks Jasonweaver. The report surprised me in several ways. Over the top may be one, but it 's target audience is "government" on several different levels. And for those diverse audiences, this may well be what plays. There is so much information within the report, it is certain to offend lots of folks... who read into it whatever their own biases are. Having seen the report, I still maintain that it is 'newsworthy' only as its facts relate to specific stories. Mocking the report, or mocking Tennessee's hunting/fishing/shooting/outdoor sports, etc is not newsworthy. I'm still not impressed with Richard's journalism. I didn't read Gail Kerr's 'airport-mock' - but I suspect it also lacked journalistic qualities worthy of City Paper standards.

By: jasonweaver on 12/31/69 at 7:00

I don't thinking mocking a report equates to mocking hunters or anglers. Kerr writes for the Tennessean. It seems to me that the point of a column is to do such things. Lawson had a column at the Tennessean a few years ago and he did similar stuff that got people talking. Did you see this one he'd done on a different impact study? I had to search using Google because the search function on the site stinks.http://www.nashvillecitypaper.com/news.php?viewStory=58089