Hunting Gear Sales Surge
Hunting-related equipment sales saw the highest percentage increase of all athletic and sports equipment, according to new data from the National Sporting Goods Association (NSGA).

NSGA’s report "The Sporting Goods Market in 2005" estimates sales of hunting-related equipment totaled $2.8 billion in 2004, up 8 percent from the previous year.

The next-highest category was tennis-related equipment sales, which rose 5 percent. Archery increased 4 percent, camping 3 percent, golf 3 percent, bowling 3 percent, fishing 2 percent, and baseball/softball 2 percent.

It’s welcome news for the hunting industry and for conservationists, said Doug Painter, president of the National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF), the trade association for the hunting and shooting sports industry. NSSF administers a variety of programs to keep hunters active by increasing opportunities for them to go afield.

“These figures show that our industry is out front in innovating new and better gear, and that hunters are willing to spend their hard-earned dollars for further enjoyment of their favorite outdoor pastime,” Painter said, adding, “It’s all working together to make hunting a growing segment of the sporting goods world.”

Painter continued, “In addition, wildlife and habitat programs are the sole beneficiaries of special excise taxes collected from hunting products, so robust sales should be welcome news to everyone who appreciates a healthy outdoors.”

Within the hunting-related equipment category, firearms saw a 9.5 percent sales increase in 2004 to $1.9 billion, according to the report. Rifle sales ($722 million) showed a 16.5 percent increase, handgun sales ($524 million) increased 10.4 percent, shotgun sales ($534 million) were up 1.9 percent and air gun sales ($120 million) rose 3 percent.

Particularly strong sales were seen in hunting-related footwear, an increase unmatched in any other category of athletic footwear.

At $2.8 billion in total sales, hunting-related equipment ranked third among all athletic and sports equipment categories in 2004, with only golf ($3.1 billion) and exercise equipment ($5 billion) ranking higher, according to the report.

NSGA findings are based on surveys and interviews with 100,000 households in America.

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