Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Dip In Ohio Hunting/Fishing License Sales

Sales of both Ohio hunting and fishing licenses took hits when compared to the same eight-month period one year ago.

This shortfall resulted in a decline of revenue of nearly $1.5 million for the Ohio Division of Wildlife.

For the period Feb. 15 through Oct. 31 this year, the Wildlife Division issued a total of 788,990 fishing documents of all kinds for a total revenue of $13,978,700.

For the same period in 2010 the agency issued 867,065 documents for a revenue stream of $15,228,928.

The greatest drop came in the sale of resident fishing licenses; a drop of 58,233 permits that turned into a loss of nearly $1.11 million.

In all, 651,811 resident annual fishing licenses were sold during the eight-month period in 2010 while 593,578 such documents were issued for the same period this year, reports the Wildlife Division.

Also off were sales of three-day non-resident fishing licenses (off 14.19 percent), annual non-resident fishing licenses (off 4.95 percent), and one-day fishing licenses (off 8.96 percent).

Up, however, were sales of duplicate fishing licenses by a whopping 47.81 percent for an increase of $19,536 in revenue to the agency.

“Between the rains this spring along with high gas prices this summer, license sales were down,” said Susan Howard, one of two Wildlife Division assistant chiefs.

Factor in as well the algae blooms that plagued Lake Erie toward summer’s end and into autumn, said Howard also.

“It was not a good mix for license sales,” she said.

The bottom line is that Lake Erie drives fishing license sales in Ohio. And with that being said, other Great Lakes states also experienced poor weather which seemed to have caused lowered fishing license sales, too.

“That’s what I’m hearing,” Howard said.

Hunting license sales were likewise down, though not by nearly as much. For the period of Feb. 15, 2010 through Oct. 31, 2010, the Wildlife Division sold 192,587 resident hunting licenses.

By comparison, during this same eight-month time frame this year the agency issued 182,844 resident hunting licenses, resulting in a dip of $185,117, says the Wildlife Division.

There are many more categories of hunting licenses and tags than types of fishing licenses and most of the former saw only modest declines. For example, the sale of fall turkey permits dropped by 577 documents for a decline of $13,848 in revenue.

And sales of Ohio’s “duck stamp” similarly declined. Here, for the eight-month recording period in 2010 the Wildlife Division issued 19,058 stamps but sold 18,580 stamps for the same accounting period this year. This drop resulted in a decline of $7,170 in revenue.

Also off - but only slightly - were sales of both the either sex deer tags and the antler-only deer permits.

For the eight-month period in 2010 the Wildlife Division sold 156,308 either-sex deer tags while for the same time frame this year the agency issued 154,417 permits. This drop resulted in a decline of only $45,384 in revenue.

And sales of the antlerless-only tags took a slight hit as well. Here, during the eight-month 2010 accounting period the Wildlife Division sold 89,664 antlerless-only tags, a figure that fell to 87,822 permits this year for the same period. This drop resulted in a loss of only $27,630 in revenue for the agency.

Like it was for the sale of duplicate fishing license the issuance of duplicate hunting licenses soared.

Conversely, in 2010 the Wildlife Division issued 3,937 duplicate hunting licenses of all kinds for the eight-month recording period. That figured rose to 9,915 duplicate permits issued for the same period this year and for a net gain of $27,849, almost wiping out the deficit seen in the decline in sale of antlerless-only tags.

In all, sales of the Wildlife Division’s shopping cart of hunting/trapping-related licenses, stamps, permits and tags dropped by 21,763 documents.

In all, revenues from the sale of all hunting/trapping related licenses, tags, permits and stamps was $13,806,798 for this year’s eight-month recording period. In 2010 that figure was $14,003,207.

As for an explanation as to why a very modest decline in the sale of various hunting licenses was seen, Howard says “it’s still too early to tell.”

“I think with the good weather we’re having now the numbers may pick up a lot,” Howard said.

- Jeffrey L. Frischkorn
Twiter: @Fieldkorn

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