April 17, 2013

Promoting Maryland as America’s Premiere Destination to Fish and Hunt

Funding Approved by Governor Martin O’Malley and the 2013 General Assembly

Annapolis, Maryland:  Fishing and hunting is big business in America and the sportsmen of Maryland want to see more of their brethren spend their dollars doing so here.  This was the message sent in October 2012 to Maryland’s Governor Martin O’Malley  by the Maryland Legislative Sportsmen’s Foundation on behalf of the following sportsmen’s groups in Maryland:  Maryland Charter Boat Association; Maryland Aquatic Resource Coalition; Maryland Outfitters & Guides Association; Maryland Saltwater Sport Fishermen’s Association; Coastal Conservation Association; Maryland Bowhunter’s Society; Maryland Bass Nation Federation; Trout Unlimited, Mid-Atlantic Council; Chesapeake Guides Association; and the Allegany/Garrett Sportsmen’s Association.  And the Governor listened by including $300,000 in his fiscal year 2014 budget which was approved by the 2013 General Assembly.

From a national perspective, the Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation reports – America’s Sporting Heritage:  Fueling the American Economy – that the $90 billion spent in 2011 by America’s 37.4 million sportsmen landed them at #24 on the Fortune 500 list.  From boats to shotguns to land purchased for a place to hunt or fish, every single sportsman spent on average $2,407.  From a Maryland perspective, an estimated 521,000 sportsmen contribute about $900 million annual to the State’s economy.  1 out of 8 residents hunt or fish.  Maryland sportsmen could fill the stadiums of the Baltimore Ravens and Orioles more than four times (521,000 vs. 120,000).

An analysis of advertising expenditures by the Maryland Office of Tourism shows that for every dollar spent during 2011, there was a return of $220 in incremental visitor spending.  “It is for this reason that Governor O’Malley and the General Assembly agree that public investment in destination marketing is critical to maintaining our competitive edge with neighboring states” said Margot Amelia, executive director of the Maryland Office of Tourism Development. “With approval of the $300,000, the State looks forward to working with the Maryland Legislative Sportsmen’s Foundation in advancing a strategy aimed at targeting the consumptive sports market.  We can’t wait to get started.”

An advocate for such an investment is Senator John Astle who, as the Senate Co-Chair of the bi-partisan Maryland Legislative Sportsmen’s Caucus and as a Member of the Tourism Development Board, said this:  “As sportsmen we are willing to travel to those parts of our great country where we are not only welcomed by the local citizenry, but the fishing and hunting opportunities therein are world class.  Where else can a true sportsmen visit where he/she can fish for White Marlin off our coast to hunting grouse in the mountains of Western Maryland to pursuing striped bass throughout the Nation’s largest estuary, our coveted Chesapeake Bay?  And monies realized will not only bolster the State’s economy, but will enhance the State’s investment in wildlife management and recruitment critical to such sustainability.”

“Few states can boast of 10,000 miles of rivers and streams and over 4,000 miles of tidal shoreline” echoed David Sutherland, Chair of the Maryland Legislative Sportsmen’s Foundation – an umbrella group that represents the interests of Maryland sportsmen.  “We often call ourselves ‘America in Miniature’ for all the right reasons.”  Captain Ed O’Brien of the Maryland Charter Boat Association praised all involved and noted:  “Finally, we can showcase fishing on the Chesapeake Bay which is like no place on earth.”

Studies conducted at both the state and federal level have found that the number of hunters and trappers have been on a generally declining trend over the past several decades. To increase recruitment, retention, and reactivation (R3) of hunters and trappers, which initiative do you think would have the greatest impact?

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