With some Missouri companies laying off employees and state government in a budget crunch, you might think that the outcome of the state's spring turkey season would be of little economic interest.
You would be wrong. The lusty cry of the wild turkey gobbler pumps tens of millions of dollars into the state economy each year.
This year, Missourians spent more than $1.6 million on spring turkey hunting permits. More important to Missouri's economic well-being, out-of-state hunters shelled out nearly $1.5 million for Missouri spring turkey hunting permits this year.
The economic impact of turkey hunting goes far beyond permit sales, however. Turkey hunters spend approximately $10 million in Missouri each year for shotguns, ammunition, calls, camouflage clothing and other hunting equipment. Missouri residents also spend more than $10 million on travel, food, lodging and other miscellaneous items during the spring turkey season.
Nonresidents add another $2 million-plus. In all, economic activity generated by spring turkey hunters tops $30 million annually and supports 1,100 Missouri jobs.
An economic impact model developed by the University of Missouri-Columbia shows that turkey-hunting related expenditures generate nearly $1.5 million in state sales taxes and about $1 million in state income taxes annually.
The figures on hunter expenses come from the Missouri Department of Conservation survey of approximately 5,000 turkey hunters. Hunters provided details on turkey hunting related expenses for clothing, calls, ammunition, guns, transportation, lodging, food, land leases, taxidermy and other items.