Southwick Associates May 2011 Newsletter

May 2011

Welcome to the Southwick Associates May 2011 Newsletter focusing on the economics, business and statistics of fish and wildlife and their associated outdoor recreation.

In This Issue:

  • Excise Tax Programs: A Cycle of Success
  • Five Things You Didn’t Know About Outdoor Media Usage
  • Top Hunting and Shooting Equipment Brands
  • Top Fishing Equipment Brands
  • Better Market Data Results in Better Conservation in Panama

Previous newsletters are available at


Excise Tax Programs: A Cycle of Success

Imagine a business investment that routinely returns over 1,000 percent annually to your company. No need to imagine. Sportfishing, hunting and shooting sports manufacturers have enjoyed such an investment for more than 60 years!

The investment is actually the excise tax-funded Wildlife and Sport Fish Restoration programs. Every three months, manufacturers and importers of fishing, hunting and shooting-sports equipment write checks to the federal government. These excise-tax payments, 10-11 percent on most products, can be seen as an investment because federal law earmarks these dollars for maintaining and enhancing America’s fish and wildlife populations. The result is abundant, sustainable wildlife and fish populations (non-game species also benefit as a result of improved habitat and other environmental enhancements)—and diverse hunting and fishing opportunities. Sportsmen and women respond to these opportunities by purchasing hunting, fishing and target shooting equipment manufactured or imported by the companies that pay the tax.

Between 1970 and 2006, hunting and shooting sports manufacturers saw a 1,000 percent annual return on their excise tax investments. Between 1955 and 2006, sport fishing manufacturers saw a 2,157 percent annual return on excise taxes paid.

The phenomenal restoration of America’s white-tailed deer and wild turkey populations are well-known examples of the specific “dividends” paid by these investments. But the successes also extend into countless other national and local stories, such as:

  • By 1950, pollution and siltation had reduced or even eliminated fish in many waters that once were highly productive. Sport Fish Restoration investments turned many fisheries around and sparked a 200 percent increase in tackle sales (in constant dollars) since 1955.
  • In 1937, states on average allowed 30 days of waterfowl hunting. In 2010, 11 states provided 150 or more waterfowl hunting days, 23 states provided 120 days, and 13 states provided more than 90.
  • By the 1950s, the oily and inedible alewife littered the beaches of the Great Lakes and sport fishing was nearly nonexistent. Now, thanks in part to Sport Fish Restoration funds, world-class sport fisheries in the Great Lakes for salmon, trout, walleye, and yellow perch annually generate more than $2 billion in retail sales and support more than 58,000 jobs.
  • In 1937, Wyoming elk hunters had only limited local seasons. Today, 170 days of elk hunting are available for various specialty hunts. More than 53,000 hunters put in more than 412,000 hunter-days devoted to elk hunting, harvesting approximately 23,000 elk.

More details on these investments are outlined in reports prepared in part by Southwick Associates. The reports are available in “Project Links” at or by clicking on the following links:

Summary ROI Report Prepared for AFWA


Detailed technical reports:

Sportfish Restoration ROI Report

Wildlife Restoration ROI Report


Five Things You Didn’t Know About Outdoor Media Usage

In our previous newsletter, we introduced you to SAMM (Southwick Associates Media Monitoring). In this edition, a few more details about this innovative new marketing tool are included.

SAMM is an informational product being generated from the most comprehensive survey ever undertaken on outdoor media usage. Southwick Associates is driving this project. New data will generate a series of reports on media usage habits of hunters, shooters and anglers—information vital for today’s ad buyers seeking the best outlets for selling their products and messages.

“This data is invaluable for better understanding which specific magazines, television shows and other media are being used most by outdoor enthusiasts, and how those media affect purchasing decisions. Never before has this type of information been available, especially in such depth,” said Rob Southwick, president of Southwick Associates.

Data collected for SAMM can be sorted in infinite, customizable ways to produce valuable insights that you probably didn’t know before, such as:

    (all results are only for July-Sept 2010)

  • The most watched outdoor television program among waterfowl hunters was “Duck Commander.” And the surprising second choice? “Bucks of Tecomate.”
  • “North American Hunter” is the most widely read magazine among sportsmen who participate in target shooting.
  • Anglers names “Field & Stream” as their most read magazine, followed by “Bassmaster.”
  • Question: Which outdoor TV show has the most prolific firearms-buying audience? Answer: “Ted Nugent’s Spirit of the Wild.”
  • Magazines remain the most popular media product among hunters, shooters and anglers, followed by the Internet and social media, then television programs.

Southwick Associates can tailor SAMM for any outdoor company or organization looking to expand its market and improve its programs and profitability.

SAMM can be equally valuable to media outlets. Publishers and editors, producers, network executive and others can use the data to better understand audience demographics, activities, equipment, brand names, price points, related purchases and even specific stores and websites where these purchases most often take place.

“Especially in this economy, not many companies have the budget for prospecting with advertising dollars. ROI is more important than ever. This new information gives leaders their best chance to make the right choices,” said Southwick.

The 2011 cost to receive SAMM quarterly reports and year-end summary is $7,200.

For more information, visit or if interested in obtaining results, contact Mr. Courtney Olsen at


Top Hunting and Shooting Equipment Brands

Bushnell, Hornady, Remington and Winchester are named most often, but 23 different brands appear in a new list of the most-purchased hunting and shooting equipment. Southwick Associates compiled the list from 41,923 internet-based surveys completed by hunters and target shooters who volunteered to participate in and polls in 2010. The online consumer panels track changes in hunter and shooter participation and purchases.

Top brands include:

  • Top rifle brand: Remington (17.5% of all purchases)
  • Top shotgun brand: Remington, Mossberg (virtual tie with 21.5% of all purchases)
  • Top muzzleloader brand: Thompson Center (31.9% of all purchases)
  • Top handgun brand: Sturm Ruger (16.7% of all purchases)
  • Top scope for firearms: Bushnell (17.1% of all purchases)
  • Top rifle ammunition brand: Remington (25.3% of all purchases)
  • Top shotgun ammunition brand: Winchester (31.9% of all purchases)
  • Top handgun ammunition brand: Winchester (22.0% of all purchases)
  • Top blackpowder brand: Pyrodex (38.7% of all purchases)
  • Top balls, bullets, or shot brand: Hornady (28.4% of all purchases)
  • Top bow brand: Matthews (17.5% of all purchases)
  • Top arrow brand: Carbon Express (27.6% of all purchases)
  • Top fletching brand: Blazer (15.8% of all purchases)
  • Top broadhead brand: Muzzy (20.3% of all purchases)
  • Top decoy brand: Mojo (12.9% of all purchases)
  • Top game call brand: Primos (33.5% of all purchases)
  • Top reloading bullet brand: Hornady (31.7% of all purchases)
  • Top reloading powder brand: Hodgdon (37.8% of all purchases)
  • Top binocular brand: Bushnell (33.6% of all purchases)
  • Top holster brand: Uncle Mikes (19.0% of all purchases)
  • Top knife brand: Gerber (15.0% of all purchases)
  • Top scent or scent covering brand: Scent-A-Way, Scent Shield (virtual tie with 14.7% of all purchases)
  • Top shooting target brand: Shoot-N-C (31.3% of all purchases)

To find out how and can help grow your business, contact Rob Southwick at


Top Fishing Equipment Brands

For the fishing side of the outdoor industry, Southwick Associates also is offering a new peek into the top brand- and product-buying preferences of anglers. A list was compiled from 31,082 internet-based surveys completed by anglers who volunteered to participate in 2010 at

Rapala, Rio and Shakespeare were named most often, but 17 different brands appear on the list:

  • Top rod brand: Shakespeare (12% of all purchases)
  • Top reel brand: Shimano (19.4% of all purchases)
  • Top rod and reel combo brand: Shakespeare (23.6% of all purchases)
  • Top fishing line producer: Berkley (12.8% of all purchases)
  • Top hard bait brand: Rapala (25.7% of all purchases)
  • Top soft bait brand: Zoom (13.3% of all purchases)
  • Top spinner bait brand: Strike King (16.7% of all purchases)
  • Top hook brand: Eagle Claw/Lazer Sharp (28% of all purchases)
  • Top sinker brand: generic (29.7%), Water Gremlin (12% of all purchases)
  • Top fly rod brand: LL Bean (25.6% of all purchases)
  • Top fly reels brand: Orvis (17.5% of all purchases)
  • Top fly combo brand: Pfleuger (6.5% of all purchases)
  • Top fly line brand: Rio (32.1% of all purchases)
  • Top fly leader brand: Rio (31.2% of all purchases)
  • Top fly tying material brand: Wapsi (14% of all purchases)
  • Top fish finder or sonar brand: Humminbird (34.7% of all purchases)
  • Top tackle box brand: Plano (45.5% of all purchases)
  • Top landing net brand: Frabill (33.4% of all purchases)
  • Top fishing knife brand: Rapala (22.4% of all purchases)

More detailed information, such specific market share data and targeted fish species, is available. For more information on this report or to find out how can help grow your business, contact Rob Southwick at


Better Market Data, Better Conservation, in Panama

With market research showing the economic importance of sport fishing in Central America, Panamanian officials have enacted new regulations to improve the sustainability of marine resources as well as the quality of recreational angling.

The research that helped inspire these actions was conducted by The Billfish Foundation in partnership with Southwick Associates and others.

Panama has the potential to become one of the most popular sportfishing destinations in the world, and Panama recently become the first country in Central America to prohibit purse seining and add longlining restrictions within its waters. All seven nations in the region have agreed to create appropriate management plans for tuna, billfish and other species vital to growing sportfishing and tourism.

Republic of Panama President Ricardo Martinelli noted, “We are committed to promoting sustainable and responsible fishing. We understand the economic need for protecting our marine resources and the importance of sustainable fisheries as a natural resource for our country’s development.”

Surveys have documented that angling tourists prefer to travel to fish in waters of nations supporting strong conservation because it generates the high catch rates essential to attracting anglers in the very competitive international market. To help Panama further develop a sustainable recreational fishing industry, the Panamanian government, through its science and technology agency (SENACYT), has contract The Billfish Foundation to further quantify recreational fishing’s contributions and to provide recommendations about potential improvements. Southwick Associates is assisting this effort.

For background on the Panama research project and details about the country’s new regulations, visit The Billfish Foundation’s news pages at

In Future Issues:

  • Sportsmen’s social media usage
  • Activities competing against hunting and fishing  – and why they are successful

Southwick Associates, Inc. specializes in natural resource & environmental economic, business and statistical research.  Our staff is comprised of economic, business and statistics professionals throughout the U.S. who have in-depth experience measuring the values, benefits and revenues possible from fish, wildlife, and water-related natural resources plus their associated industries.  We can help clients better address many business, legal, legislative and public communication issues through the practical application of reliable and accurate economic information and statistics.