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"Consernomics"

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Published on: May. 2, 2005

Last revision: Nov. 17, 2010

10,124 nonresidents spent $1.44 million on Missouri spring turkey hunting permits.

Sales of turkey and other nonresident permits funnel nearly $8 million into Missouri annually. That is a good thing all by itself, but much more significant is what happens after visitors buy permits. They rent hotel rooms, hire guides, visit restaurants and auto mechanics and buy gasoline, groceries, beverages, ammunition, fishing gear and a host of other items.

For example, Missouri's 13,000-plus nonresident deer hunters spend about $139 per day in our state for a total economic boost of more than $57 million.

Conservation Services

“Conservation is great, but what has the Conservation Department done for me lately?” you may ask. Here are a few of the services you get for your conservation dollar:

  • Curriculum material helps public and private schools and home schoolers meet state math, English and science requirements.
  • Naturalists bring conservation messages to schools.
  • Education consultants offer workshops to help teachers enrich students' class time.
  • Private Land Services Division offers landowners expertise in managing forests, fish ponds or wildlife habitat on their property.
  • Cost-share programs help landowners affordably put conservation theory into practice.
  • The state forest nursery provides approximately 6 million tree and shrub seedlings for conservation plantings every year.
  • Wildlife damage biologists are ready to help when you have trouble with squirrels in the attic or a bear in the back yard.
  • Missouri Conservationist magazine is free to adult Missouri residents, keeping them informed about agency activities.

As I explored the tremendous wealth that wild resources generate, I discovered more and more ways that conservation benefits Missouri economically. I started putting notes about the economic benefits of conservation in a folder I labeled “Consernomics.” The folder is now about two inches thick. Few weeks go by that I don't add a few pages.

If you ever wonder what you get for the penny of conservation sales tax you pay on every $8 of taxable goods you buy in Missouri, consider the following facts from the “Consernomics” folder.

Direct Benefits

Among the most obvious benefits of conservation are millions of fish produced at state hatcheries, abundant game and hundreds of conservation areas where you can enjoy hunting, fishing, trapping, birdwatching, nature photography, hiking, camping, canoeing, mushroom hunting and just being outdoors.

The value of all this conservation-based recreation is elusive. How do you put a dollar value on hours spent outdoors with family or friends? One way is to ask participants how much they would spend.

Deer hunters said they would pay about

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