The chukar partridge on our cover this week is, as you will see in our Menaboni-illustrated article beginning on page 22, only one of the many game birds of other lands now being introduced into this country. He and a number of other exotic new species will add colorful variety to the bag of America's hunters of upland game birds during the seasons ahead.
I think you may be unusually interested, as I was, to note our writers' conservative estimate that, to reduce the upland game bird population by an estimated 29,000,000 birds (among them, almost 100,000 chukars), hunters will spend approximately $478,000,000 during this season alone. This includes ammunition, licenses, food and lodging, transportation, dogs, incidentals—but not such basic equipment as guns and clothing. It also excludes any amount spent by hunters of any other game, including even the duck hunters.
This figure, incidentally, is approximately double that spent by Americans for tickets to all spectator sports in 1953—in case someone ever complains to you that America is just a nation of onlookers.
There is almost no telling how big a role participant sports play in America's new, vigorous, outdoor way of life. But we have an indication, at least, of how "much sports like these figure in the lives of SPORTS ILLUSTRATED's readers. In a recent survey made in Grand Rapids, Michigan it was revealed that 69% of all SI subscribers own fishing equipment, and 45% own a rifle, shotgun, or other hunting equipment. More than 20% of the families hunt regularly, and better than 60% of the hunters go out three or more times per month during the season.
While on the subject, I should like to take this opportunity to wish the hunters among you, in Grand Rapids and everywhere else, good shooting during the season ahead. Perhaps one of you may even equal the singular luck of our reporter on the upland game birds PREVIEW, Virginia Kraft, who, out for pheasant with some friends of hers last season, bagged a six-point buck with her 1911-vintage A. H. Fox shotgun—10 minutes before the deer season ended, and not 40 miles from the New York City limits.