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By LINDSEY ROBBINS

Staff writer

Hunting and fishing mean more than fresh, tasty meals and prized wall trophies in Maryland. They also mean thousands of jobs and an annual economic impact of more than $1 billion, according to new data released last week.

The report, from the Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation of Washington, D.C., shows that the 445,000 people who hunt or fish in Maryland supported 10,707 jobs and generated a $1.25 billion economic impact in the state in 2011.

Nationwide, fishing and hunting enthusiasts spent $90 billion in 2011 — more than the combined global sales of Apple’s iPhone and iPad that year, according to the foundation. Maryland ranked No. 35 in spending, trailing neighbors Virginia and Pennsylvania, which had $2.4 billion and $1.5 billion in sales, respectively.

“I think the numbers speak for themselves,” said Keith Fraser, owner of Alltackle.com in Annapolis and Ocean City. “Even from out of state, there’s a lot of money spent on the side that people don’t consider. People coming here to fish spend a lot of money on fuel for their boats, as well as hotels, restaurants and marina docking.”

Maryland benefits from the Chesapeake Bay, which provides numerous options for fishing and hunting, Fraser said.

Alltackle.com, in business for 13 years, handles about 50,000 transactions annually, including through its online presence, he said.

Maryland also is one of the prime waterfowl hunting spots in the country, said Steve Schneider, owner of Atlantic Guns in Silver Spring and Rockville. He said Maryland’s deer population also is attractive to hunters, with the number of deer hunters increasing “dramatically” over the years.

But Schneider also expressed concern that the state’s population growth was making it increasingly difficult to find appropriate hunting grounds.

Atlantic Guns, in business since 1951, has 25 employees, he said.

“Many people may not fully comprehend how important hunting and fishing are to the fabric of this country,” Jeff Crane, president of the Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation, said in a statement. “Yet nationally, there are more people who hunt or fish than go bowling, and their spending would land them at No. 24 on the Fortune 500 list.”

lrobbins@gazette.net