The Council to Advance Hunting and Shooting Sports tracked data from more than 40 state fish and wildlife agencies and reviewed monthly license sales for residents in 2019 and 2020. You guessed it, sales soared in 2020 as people turned to the outdoors to escape the pandemic. The agency reviewed monthly sales data which proved that there was a 5% increase in hunting license sales in 2020. Resident sales increased 5.4% and nonresident sales increased 1.6% during the same time period.
They saw initial license sales fallout in March when the Covid lockdown began, which is expected because a lot of states banned out of state sales. Sales picked up throughout the summer when restrictions were lessened and eased up in the fall.
We saw this in the western states too. For example, there were 103,000 people with elk preference points in Wyoming in 2019 and that number rose to roughly 124,000 in 2020. That’s a whopping 21,000 additional applicants in the system which pencils out to a 17% increase!! Holy smokes!
Reports I’ve heard from other places in 2021 show that applications are up 20% from this time that last year. These are incredible numbers and acquiring tags through the draw is going to be more and more difficult for all of us. The western states are going to have to begin to brainstorm on how to handle this giant influx of applicants in the coming years as state systems become more stressed.
I expect 2021 to be no different across the board but it is early in the year so we will see how sales progress throughout the year as it seems that covid restrictions seem to be easing in most states. Or heck, who knows, maybe as covid restrictions ease and businesses open back up, bars will see the largest surge in participation in 2021!