Realizing that it may be frightening to many of you, O’Neill has done a bit of research as to who among us is a fisherman, hunter, camper, or plain ole adventurer here in the mountains of North Georgia – and where he spends his time and money. I think you may be surprised.

First of all, allow me my personal conclusions, bearing in mind that Gail and I are Georgia natives and have been enjoying the Southeastern wildlife and landscape for 80 years. In the interest of being inclusive with as few words as possible, let’s call these Georgia participants, men and women, or “we.” We hunt whitetail deer, quail, squirrels, rabbits and enjoy them both as trophies and dinner. We fish for bass, bream, crappie, trout and other finny critters. We buy hunting and fishing licenses and pay the 6% excise tax, without complaint, on “outdoor” gear that ultimately and directly pays for wild animal and land management. We stick to the rules regarding other owners’ land and the hunting and fishing approval dates and seasons as set forth by the Georgia and other states’ Department of Natural Resources.  We stick to the rules without an umpire or field judge to call us out or drop and flag.

Now, let’s expand, without judgment or explanation, what else “we” do, where we travel and where do we spend our money.  Without revealing my sources of information, please take my word for it that the following stats are reliable totals as generated by the major TV and radio stations in our area.

Ok, for whatever it’s worth and noting that these percentages include the Southeastern states, see if you fit. Here goes:

  • 51% live in a two-person household; 81% own their home;
  • 77% have no one under 17-years-old living at home;
  • 51% do their own home repairs;
  • top two vehicles are Ford and Toyota;
  • 94% pick Bojangles’, Dairy Queen or Dunkin’ (Donuts);
  • for a pick up meal to sit down for dinner, 89% choose Cracker Barrel, LongHorn or Waffle House;
  • top retailer is Walmart;
  • 59% attend professional sports and finally,
  • 81% watch pro baseball on TV.

And here’s a snippet showing the activity level of fishing and hunting in Georgia: There are 800,000 hunting license holders who, I believe conservatively, hunt 15 times annually and 1.1 million fishing license holders, again very conservatively, exercise that activity 40 times per year. That’s a total of 56 million days of use. Quite a number.

If you and yours don’t have some of these “days” in your calendar, you’re missing out on what really counts long term.