Hunters in Southwest Colorado pump more than ammo into their rifles every year. Hunters and anglers are responsible for pumping more than $20 million into Montezuma Countys economy.
Colorado Parks and Wildlifes most recent data, gathered from 2007, shows expenditures, including hunting and fishing trips, equipment expenditures and estimated CDOW expenditures, for Montezuma County have a total economic impact of $20,790,000. The economic impact report is completed every five years.
Statewide, hunters and angles spent an estimated $1 billion on trip expenses and sporting equipment in 2007.
In addition to direct economic impacts, hunters and anglers contribute to the Montezuma County and estate economy indirectly. As businesses receive revenue from hunter and angler purchases, the funds are used to pay staff members and purchase good and services for the business. The secondary economic impact of hunting and fishing dollars in the state in 2007 is estimated at $767 million.
For Sam Davidson, an archery hunter from Colorado Springs, Montezuma County has become his annual destination in late summer.
Ive been coming here for the past six years during hunting season, he said while sipping a beer at the Main Street Brewery in Cortez. Im not what you would call a hardcore hunter. I stay in motels for part of the season.
Davidson meets up with his cousin and a friend to stalk elk during archery season, which runs the month of September.
There are also 220 jobs that are sustained by hunting and fishing in Montezuma County.
That doesnt count workers at grocery stores, Walmart, gas stations and other businesses that see hunters making purchases and filling the tanks with fuel.
More non-residents than residents hunt in Montezuma County. In 2007, non-resident hunters spent almost $6 million, while residents spent just over $2 million during the 2007 hunting season. Impacts from parks and wildlife expenditures were near $900,000.
I spend quite a bit of money when I come to town, Davidson said. Food, gas, supplies it adds up.
Colorado Parks and Wildlife expenditures went to operations that directly support hunting in Montezuma County, such as travel, supplies, motor vehicles, equipment and all other expenditures in direct support of game management.
Local business owners, such as Ken Banks at Shooters World in Cortez, look to hunting season to bring in the majority of sales for the year.
For me thats what helps me put away a little nest egg to carry me through the slow months of January through June, Banks said.
He speculates that hunting season the months of August, September, October and November brings in a good 40 percent increase in sales for his business.
While its the locals that mainly purchase firearms at the store, its the accessories that boosts sales, Banks said. Items such as ammunition, rifle cases, binoculars, targets and range finders, are what hunters are buying.
Banks said in his opinion the rest of the county is positively affected as well.
I consider it a big boost for Cortez and the area. Its a benefit to all of us, he said.
Though not all businesses see an increase in sales, overall the local economy sees an uplift while hunters are in the area.