Hunting and firearms-related gear second only to exercise equipment
in sports-related sales
NEWTOWN, Conn. -- Fore! Outdoor sportsmen and women are playing through. According to data released by the National Sporting Goods Association (NSGA), hunting- and shooting-related equipment sales have out-driven golf.

New statistics show that hunting gear and firearm sales topped $3.7 billion in 2006, up 4.1 percent from the previous year. According to NSGA's most recent report, "Sporting Goods Market," only exercise equipment performed better, with sales of $5.22 billion. Golf equipment, which claimed the No. 2 spot the previous year, fell into the third spot with $3.66 billion in sales.

"These statistics demonstrate the importance of America's 40 million hunters and shooters to the nation's economy," said Doug Painter, president of the National Shooting Sports Foundation. "The increase in projected sales reported by NSGA corresponds to other increases we saw between 2005 and 2006 in production, excise taxes on firearms and ammunition, background checks related to the purchase of firearms, and hunting license sales."

Included in the hunting- and shooting-related equipment category are firearms ($2.18 billion in 2006 sales), airguns ($224.1 million), ammunition ($977.1 million), knives ($51.8 million), paintball guns/packages ($220.9 million), and reloading equipment ($52.0 million).
Below is a listing of the top 10 areas of sales of athletic and sports equipment for 2006:

  1. exercise, $5.22 billion;
  2. hunting and firearms, $3.71 billion;
  3. golf, $3.66 billion;
  4. athletic goods team sales, $2.62 billion;
  5. fishing tackle, $2.22 billion;
  6. camping, $1.53 billion;
  7. optics, $1.01 billion;
  8. snow skiing, $615.0 million;
  9. billiards / indoor games, $570.9 million; and
  10. tennis, $419.8 million.