The Department of Jobs, Precincts and Regions has just released its 2020 Economic contribution of recreational hunting in Victoria final report.
After reading the report, I found myself continually questioning how is it even possible that a legal, law-abiding recreational group like hunters cop the relentless vilification from Government sections.
The report was broken into four main hunting sections. Deer, Duck, Quail and Pest Animal. Deer hunters lead the spend at $201 million. $69 million for the pest animal section followed closely by duck hunters contributing $65 million and $22 from the quail hunters.
The economic activity associated with recreational game hunting occurred across Victoria. The majority ofexpenditure was outside Melbourne, with 69% located in regional Victoria. The Local Government Areas withthe highest gross economic contribution were Mansfield ($12M), East Gippsland ($11M) and Latrobe ($11M).The towns with the highest hunting-related expenditure were Mansfield ($21M), Horsham $11M), Wodonga($10M) and Bendigo ($9M).
Game licence holders span a wide range of ages, but are more likely to be aged between 35 and 50, and 97%of hunters are male. Game licence holders are more likely to be in full time employment and have higherincomes than the general population of Victoria. Interstate and overseas residents are eligible for a Victoriangame licence, and 11% of licence holders reside outside Victoria, with 6% residing in NSW. Approximately49% of hunters surveyed live in Greater Melbourne and 51% live in regional Victoria and interstate.
Game licence holders hunt to spend time in places special to them and to spend time outdoors. They reporthigher scores for personal wellbeing, social capital and general health than the general population. While it islikely that hunting provides health and wellbeing benefits, there are likely to be many contributing factors to thehigher scores for hunters, such as their relatively high level of education, and income when compared with theVictorian population.
“We’re camo clad eco tourists” Australian Deer Association Executive Officer Barry Howlett said “most of the deer hunters live and work in the metropolitan area then head out to the regions for recreation.”
Mr. Howlett said that hunters tend to go out more regularly than a lot of other bush users. “We are the largest below snowline user group of the Alpine National Park for around nine months of the year” Mr. Howlett said “this report shows that the average hunter makes six trips a year”.
The benefits of deer hunting go far beyond the financial with the report also showing that The overall health and wellbeing of hunters was examined using three measures: personal wellbeing, social capital and general health. The analysis shows that game licence holders report higher scores in these measures than the general population, as measured by the Regional Wellbeing Survey. “Governments like to talk about triple-bottom-line benefits” Mr. Howlett said “deer hunting provides that in spades, we are an important economic driver, our activities provide clear ecological benefits and the importance of the social aspects both of time in nature and sharing wild food with our friends and neighbours cannot be overstated”.
It’s imperative that the Victorian Government recognises just how much hunters bring to the table, especially for struggling regional areas.