Media Clips

New Bend group touts hunting’s economic boost

Published on December 24, 2014 under Media Clips

By Dylan J. Darling / The Bulletin / @DylanJDarling
Published Dec 13, 2014 at 12:02AM

A new Bend-based group wants to spread its view that hunting helps businesses in Central Oregon and around the state.

“We just want to tell the story that everybody benefits when hunters go and do their things ,” said Gary Lewis, co-chairman for Hunting Works for Oregon, the new hunting advocacy group. Lewis is also a longtime outdoors columnist for The Bulletin.

The group is a chapter of the Hunting Works for America Campaign of the National Shooting Sports Foundation, a Connecticut-based trade association for the firearms industry. Oregon joins nine other states — Arizona, Minnesota, North Dakota, Iowa, Missouri, Pennsylvania, Utah, Colorado and Wisconsin — in having a “Hunting Works” group.

“Even though thousands of people hunt in Oregon every year, that number is declining. We want to make sure that hunters in Oregon continue to have a voice,” Chris Dolnack, senior vice president and chief marketing officer for the shooting sports foundation, said in a news release earlier this month.

For Jessica Blome, attorney for the Animal Legal Defense Fund in Northern California, the new group in Oregon and the other groups around the country seem to be more about gun sales and less about hunting.

“It’s all about profit when you are dealing with these industry trade groups,” she said. Her group aims to end what it calls inhumane hunting, which is hunting not done for subsistence or conservation measures.

Lewis, who also writes hunting books and hosts a hunting TV show, said hunters such as himself boost economies through spending centered around their sport.

“For example, I buy tires around hunting season and I spend more on tires because I’m going places I’m more likely to break one on an old back road,” he said.

He also listed gas, restaurant meals and hotel stays as things he will put money down for while out on a hunt.

Unlike other hunting groups, Hunting Works for Oregon does not cater specifically to hunters. Instead its focus includes businesses which it says stand to benefit from hunters spending money in their communities.

The group has four other co-chairmen: Stan Steele, chairman of the board for the Oregon Outdoor Council, a Portland-based hunting advocacy group started in 2011, and a retired Oregon State Police wildlife trooper; Rep. Sal Esquivel, R-Medford; Joe Davis, owner and manager of the Black Bear diner in Madras; and Roger Lee, executive director of Economic Development for Central Oregon.

Calling it a “good value fit” for him, Deschutes County Commissioner Tony DeBone also supports the group.

“This is just celebrating our economic diversity and our history of hunting in Oregon,” he said.

— Reporter: 541-617-7812,

ddarling@bendbulletin.com