The Fall Hunting Classic is a tradition at Bass Pro Shops and an event that nearly 7 million people are expected to attend this year. Why is this important? “Because hunting is big business,” says Bass Pro Shops spokeswoman Katie Mitchell.
Indeed it is. A report by the Congressional Sportsmen Foundation says America’s 34 million hunters and anglers are an economic powerhouse, spending some $8.6 million an hour. If this $76 billion-a-year industry were a corporation, it would be among America’s 20 largest, ahead of Target, Costco and AT&T.
“The Bass Pro Shops Fall Classic is a huge event and hunters and other outdoor sportsmen and women look forward to it all year long,” said Mitchell. “Outdoor enthusiasts will be able to learn the secret techniques and strategies used by professionals to gain a better advantage in the field, see all the latest products, and attend workshops and seminars. And, there is a ‘ripple effect’ as other area retailers, gas stations, hotels and restaurants benefit as well from the increased traffic the Classic generates,” Mitchell added.
This 17-day event will be held Aug. 5-21 at 52 Bass Pro Shops retail locations across the United States and Canada—and it is all free.
Hunting and fishing sportsmen directly support 1.6 million jobs, spend more than a billion dollars just on licenses, stamps, tags and permits, and generate $25 billion a year in federal, state and local taxes. More than 12.5 million hunters and shooting sports enthusiasts pump $24.9 billion into the economy each year.
But the buck doesn’t stop there. It is vitally important that today’s youth get involved in the outdoors so they can become the stewards and conservationists of tomorrow to ensure the maintenance and well-being of our natural resources. “I’ve heard it said that if you don’t have a fishing rod in the hands of a youngster by the time they are 8 years old, the chances of getting them to go fishing later in life diminishes dramatically,” said Mitchell. “I would think the same applies to getting them introduced to hunting and shooting sports.”
This is important because the sale of hunting licenses, tags and stamps is the primary source of funding for most state wildlife conservation efforts. Hunters and anglers have always been, and continue to be, the largest contributors to government wildlife conservation programs. Through excise taxes and license revenues, these sportsmen have contributed more than $10 billion to conservation and provide more than 80 percent of the funding for most state fish and wildlife agencies. Just from hunters alone, nearly $200 million in federal excise taxes are distributed to state agencies to support wildlife each year.
(All statistics are from the Congressional Sportsman’s Foundation report, “Hunting and Fishing: Bright Stars of the American Economy ~ A force as big as all outdoors.” This report can be accessed online at www.sportsmenslink.org.)
Some of the special events during the Bass Pro Shops 2011 Fall Hunting Classic include:
-- Aug. 5-7 - Bass Pro Shops Free Hunting University. Nationally recognized professional hunters and outdoorsmen will be at stores to give seminars and talk about their experiences. Friday 5-9 p.m., Saturday and Sunday 12 p.m.-5 p.m. (Visit www.basspro.com/classic on July 28 or later for individual store location listing of seminar pros, topics and times)
-- Aug. 5-9 - Binocular Trade-In. Trade in your old pair of binoculars and save on any new binocular purchase. See a store associate for details.
-- Aug.10-15 - Scope Trade-In. Need a new scope? Trade in yours and save on a new one. See store associate for details.
-- Aug. 12-14 - Hunter Appreciation Weekend. Learn tips and techniques for a more successful day in the field by attending free seminars Friday 6-8 p.m., Saturday 1-5 p.m., and Sunday 1-4 p.m. Enter to win a $25 Bass Pro Shops gift card to be given away at every seminar. And don’t forget to “Take the Pledge” and pass along the passion, tradition and heritage by taking someone hunting. The first 100 customers to take the pledge each day Aug. 12-14 will receive a free Bass Pro Shops keychain.
-- Aug. 13-14 - ATV Test Drive. 12 p.m.-5 p.m. Try out suspension and steering capabilities of ATVs. A valid driver’s license must be shown to test drive. Complete the course and enter the drawing for a chance to win a prize. (Available at select stores)
-- Aug. 16-21 - Bow Trade-In. Been wanting a new bow? Now’s the time to get one! Trade in your old one and save. See store associate for details.
-- Aug. 20-21 - Next Generation Weekend. 12 p.m.-5 p.m. New this year—kids can take the Deer Camp Challenge. Other activities include free youth seminars (1:30 p.m. and 3:30 p.m. Camping Basics; 2:30 p.m. and 4:30 p.m. Archery Basics), paintball cage (in stores where available), and deer mosaic craft (1-3 p.m., while supplies last). Youth will receive a punch card to be punched once for every activity they complete. Once the card is full, youth will receive a “Bass Pro Shops Next Generation” logo water bottle holder (while supplies last).
-- Aug. 20-21 - PictureU Free Photo. Picture yourself on the cover of an Outdoor Life Magazine! Saturday and Sunday 12 p.m-5 p.m.
In addition, customers will be able to register Aug. 5-21 for a sweepstakes to win a Grand Prize of a Colorado Wilderness Elk Hunt sponsored by Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation valued at $11,000 (US). Visit www.basspro.com/classic on July 28 or later for details.
Plus, one winner in every store will win a RedHead Hunting Gear Package with a retail value of $570 (US) that includes a RedHead deluxe gear bag, Enigma Hub-Style hunting blind, Epic binoculars, RedHead 12-can soft side cooler, RedHead caliber waist packs and RedHead bow/rifle pack. (Contest rules: Customers may also enter to win online at www.basspro.com. Fifty-two first-place winners will be drawn and one Grand Prize winner will be drawn nationally. NO PURCHASE NECESSARY TO ENTER OR CLAIM PRIZE. Open to legal residents of the 50 U.S states and District of Columbia who are 18 years of age or older at time of entry. Void where prohibited. Sweepstakes begins Aug. 5, 2011, and ends Aug. 21, 2011.
For more information on the free Bass Pro Shops Fall Hunting Classic, go to www.basspro.com/classic.