Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Updated: Cool spring weather sends Ohio fishing license sale pummeting

This spring’s stormy, cold conditions chilled sales of Ohio fishing licenses.

At the same time the poor weather did not send from the heavens any biblical hail stones regarding the sale of to-date hunting licenses.

Still, for an agency partially dependant upon license sales for its existence, a to-date decline of nearly $2.1 million in fishing license sales revenue does not help the Ohio Division of Wildlife’s bottom line.

For the period Feb. 15 to May 31 the Wildlife Division sold 328,745 resident fishing licenses. That is a nearly 23-percent decline from the 426,853 such documents sold during the same period in 2010, says statistics provided by the Wildlife Division.

Factoring in all types of license sold and issued the Wildlife Division distributed 426,991 documents this year from Feb. 15 to May 31. That figure is a 22.19 percent fall, or 121,755 permits, from what was issued for the same period in 2010.

As a result of the license decline, revenues are down sharply. With resident annual tags the difference is $1.86 million alone. And annual nonresident fishing license sales led to a $133,600 drop in revenue as well.

Sales of the one-day fishing licenses - popular with anglers who use a fishing guide - were similarly down. In this case the revenue lost amounted to $40,678, or a drop of a tad more than 30 percent.

Crunch time for the fishing license sales will come following this July 4th holiday weekend, says Vicki Ervin, spokeswoman for the Wildlife Division.

“We really would like to see the numbers for June because we have had a few good weekends in there so hopefully the numbers will be up," Ervin said. "That will probably give us a better handle because we don’t sell many fishing licenses after the July 4th holiday.”

Hunting license sales, at least, were close to what they were in 2010 for the same time frame.

Revenues for the period Feb. 15 to May 31 of this year were $3.23 million, compared to the $3.29 million for the same period in 2010.

Off only 3.43 percent in the number of hunting licenses issued were those for resident adults: 56,358 for the Feb. 15 to May 31 period this year and 58,359 for the same time frame in 2010, says Wildlife Division figures.

In all, the to-date number of all hunting licenses and tags issued was 218,524 documents. For the same Feb. 15 to May 31 time frame in 2010 the total to-date hunting license and tag issuance amounted to 221,195 documents.

Up already have been early sales of fall wild turkey permits, state duck stamps, regular deer permits and even antlerless-only tag, though none of these figures yet represent significant statistics.

Their day will come closer to their respective season, says Ervin.

This belief is especially true for general hunting licenses and the various deer tag sales which all pick up just prior to the start of the statewide archery deer-hunting season. That season begins this year on Sept. 24.

“If people have the opportunity to buy their licenses on-line that’s really the best way to go,” Ervin says.

- Jeffrey L. Frischkorn

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