Hunting Boosts Black Belt Economy

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By Alabama News Network

Hunting season isn't just a big deal for sportsmen, but for the state of Alabama as well, particularly in the Black Belt. 

There's not a lot of industry across the black belt here in the state of Alabama. But there's one thing that business can depend on. It's hunting season.

The sign says the buck stops here, and people across the state hope that there are even more bucks on the way. 

But it's hasn't been easy over the last few years for hunting lodge owners. 

"The recession hit the industry pretty hard. People had a lot less disposable income. But you know it has improved," said J. Paul Taylor, owner of Pa-Ko Plantation.

And those improvements mean a lot for the Alabama.

"In the Black Belt region alone the economic impact is almost one billion dollars . So as you can see hunting and fishing and passive recreation is a huge development tool and a sustainable revenue source for the communities," said Pam Swanner with Alabama Black Belt Adventure.

The group is a non profit that promotes hunting across the 23 Black Belt counties. Taylor says they've made a big difference. 

"They've really convinced this lodge and other lodges I assume to pull together and work as hard as we can together in order to bring out of town business into the black belt area."

Taylor says a majority of his business is from people outside of the state, and even the country. Now that rifle season is under way, he expects a his business to pick up even more. 

The state of Alabama is trying something new this year and extending deer season into February for some southern counties, hoping to bring in even more business.

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