Clemson University forestry and natural resources researchers have found out how some rural South Carolina counties have cashed in on an outdoor activity.

Hunting on private lands is a major recreational activity in rural areas of the state. Researchers David Guynn and Greg Yarrow conducted surveys to measure landowner-hunter arrangements and the economic impact of hunting on local businesses. The results offer dramatic evidence that hunting can be a substantial economic asset.

Data from the last survey shows that the total in-county private-land hunter expenditures were more than $6 million in Jasper County and more than $4 million in McCormick County. A new survey will be conducted in the near future and researchers speculate the revenue figures will be greater.

With the sale of timber company lands, thousands of acres are being purchased by individuals and land-holding companies. Research showing that hunting on private lands can generate revenue offers landowners a way to prosper without having to sell and divide increasingly scarce large holdings. What’s more, hunting helps communities by creating jobs and business growth in rural counties and perpetuates a Southern cultural tradition.