This year’s hurricane season pounded the southern United States and the Caribbean, causing widespread catastrophic flooding that destroyed thousands of homes and disrupted millions of lives. While these events captured much news coverage, the mainstream media left out one fact: Hunters and the hunting industry came together to provide a great deal of help to those in desperate need.
“We felt compelled to act as a community to support our friends and neighbors who were affected by Hurricane Harvey,” said YETI CEO Matt Reintjes. “Together, we raised over $1.8 million for donation to organizations addressing immediate needs as well as long-term recovery and rebuilding efforts.”
The following outdoor companies also provided support to Hurricane Harvey relief efforts:
Bass Pro Shops sent more than 80 Tracker boats to government agencies and rescue organizations in Houston and other impacted communities in Texas. The company also donated truckloads of relief supplies totaling $40,000 to support the relief efforts of Convoy of Hope and the American Red Cross.
Sellmark Corporation—parent company of Sightmark, Firefield, Pulsar and Southern Crossbow—matched dollar-for-dollar employee donations and collected food and supplies for a local church group supporting relief work. It even donated pet products needed by local rescue groups that were housing Harvey-displaced pets.
The Louisiana Cajun Navy hunters and outdoors, individuals who originally came together in 2005 during Hurricane Katrina, used their own boats, vehicles and supplies to rescue people trapped by flood waters.
Just a few weeks later, Hurricane Irma caused major destruction in Florida. The hunting industry again responded immediately.
Firedisc sent 75 emergency FireDisc cookers to Florida, distributed to first-responders and volunteers who used them to prepare meals for those without power. FireDisc continued its support of those affected by both Hurricane Harvey and Hurricane Irma by donating 100 percent of the proceeds from sales of the FireDisc Shallow 24-inch Short Portable Propane Cooker from Sept. 1 through Sept. 4 to Operation BBQ Relief.
DICK'S Sporting Goods and The DICK’S Sporting Goods Foundation pledged more than $5.5 million to support communities impacted by Hurricane Harvey and Hurricane Irma. DICK’S Sporting Goods donated $3.5 million worth of clothing and footwear and The DICK’S Sporting Goods Foundation donated $2 million to rebuild and refurbish youth sports programs and facilities in affected areas.
By the end of September, Hurricane Maria began causing severe damage to Puerto Rico and its communities. Vista Outdoor—parent corporation of hunting-based companies Federal Ammunition, Primos and Savage Arms—has a manufacturing facility in Puerto Rico that was directly affected by Hurricane Maria.
“Many of our employees were affected,” said Vista spokesperson Jacob Edson. “Some lost everything. We organized a swift response to help support our Vista family. Within days, we were able to coordinate a delivery by ship of a container filled with 48 pallets including water, canned food, meal/protein bars, generators, batteries, first-aid kits, hygiene supplies, diapers, wipes and formula.”
Vista also sent in a team equipped with satellite phones to assist in communication and on-the-ground support, organized a GoFundMe campaign so Vista employees located in the United States could make donations to be distributed directly to their co-workers who needed it most, and shipped out a second container of relief supplies to Puerto Rico on Oct. 6.
The above is just a sample of all the help the hunting/outdoor industry and hunters themselves provided to victims of these hurricanes. It is a testament to the fact that American hunters and their companies will step up and help their fellow Americans in the toughest of times.