As we have seen more strict lockdown procedures in recent days many states are not allowing nonresident hunting and fishing. Not only could this be bad for hunters and fisherman, this also trickles down to local economies being hit which include outfitters, guides, local hotels, restaurants and other tourism based businesses. Montana currently has a stay at home order but outdoor recreation is exempt. Outfitters are canceling spring hunting and fishing trips that are scheduled for the near future as they are classified as nonessential business. This is going to be a hard hit on the seasonal workers that rely on these trips to pay off their boats or other financed equipment. Because of the uncertainty, outfitters aren’t taking people fishing or hunting and clients are also canceling ahead of time. Luckily under the Covid stimulus signed by President Trump, a number of provisions are set to cover outfitters to bridge the financial gap via loans, while guides may claim unemployment.
Currently, the largest threat to the industry is uncertainty. This is all new territory so nobody knows what is really going to happen. Every outfitter is in limbo until restrictions are lifted. Unfortunately, May, June and July are the biggest months in the fishing industry and this revenue can’t be made up for later in the year. Another concern is if clients will have the resources to rebook trips even after restrictions are lifted. The owner/outfitter of Stillwater Anglers in Columbus, Montana says “The million dollar question is, for whatever you want to call normal is going to look like, when is that going to return?” Everyone is very hesitant to book trips for the summer.
However, cases of Covid have been slowing down the last couple days and people are becoming more stir crazy because most areas have not seen the doom and gloom effects that the mainstream media is trying to push. The number of deaths from Covid has also been uncovered as not real Covid deaths as well. As more and more fake news is being uncovered I do believe President Trump will lift restrictions and things will get going again. Let’s be real, how long can you have stay at home orders in place when largely, the effects of the virus are not being seen? Business and life must go on, and destroying the economy over Covid-19 is simply not worth it.