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Letter: Hunting gives year-round boost to economy

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For more than 60 years Runnings Farm and Fleet has been serving customers all over the Midwest. Our store sells a large variety of products, including hunting gear. That is one of the reasons we joined the group Hunting Works for Minnesota (www.huntingworksformn.com), which is working to tell the story how hunting and the shooting sports are an important part of Minnesota's heritage and economy.

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Every year, we see a boost in business when it's getting close to hunting season openers. The flood of orange can be seen throughout our stores, and we see a boost in sales of hunting supplies.

Many Minnesotans are hunters and shooters and enjoy getting outside with their family and friends each year. Many people don't realize that when they buy a box of ammunition and other hunting gear, they are assessed an 11 percent tax that goes straight into a fund that is put aside for wildlife conservation and rehabilitation. Hunters care a great deal about conserving the outdoors for future generations.

Hunters come into our community and they stay in our hotels, eat at our restaurants and shop in our stores. This all helps local businesses like ours, and it impacts our local and statewide economies for the better.

In Minnesota nearly 600,000 people hunt each year, and the impact these hunters have on the economy is huge. It is estimated that hunters spend $482 million a year, which is on average $783 per hunter in Minnesota. The money that hunters spend in our state can be directly correlated to more than 14,000 jobs. In a time where our state and nation are thirsty for jobs, the sport of hunting is creating them.

The heritage and tradition of hunting is something that should be cherished and passed on for generations to come. It not only provides an activity for young and old alike, but it keeps our economy flourishing during tough economic times. Hunting is truly something we should all be thankful for this holiday season.

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