Monday, April 30, 2012

Ohio fishing license sales soar; turkey tag sales not so much

The warm weather seems to have hooked Ohio anglers into buying their licenses.

Enough so that the Ohio Division of Wildlife is reporting that the to-date sale of fishing licenses is up 50 percent from the same period last year.

In all, so far, more than 282,922 Ohio fishing licenses have passed into the hands of buying anglers. For the same time frame in 2011 that figure was 188,136 fishing licenses being issued.

The same cannot be said for the sale of either the state’s general hunting licenses or the spring wild turkey-hunting permits. Those numbers are down. At least for now, an agency official says.

That fact alone is of significance since Ohio is into its second week of the state’s wild turkey-hunting season.

“We have been fortunate to have an early spring with warm, stable weather that has led to excellent water conditions,” said Rich Carter, the Wildlife Division’s new fish management administrator.

Fish have been active and “anglers have really been catching them,” Carter says, believing these factors have led the charge to increased angling license sales.

“Our license sales to date have been fantastic as folks take advantage of the good weather and excellent fishing,” Carter says. “Anglers fishing our inland lakes are catching great numbers of crappie and bass, and we’ve also seen an outstanding walleye bite on Lake Erie as well as the Sandusky and Maumee rivers.”

Lagging behind from their 2011 sales are those for the general hunting license and also for the adult turkey hunting tags.

In the case of general resident hunting licenses, the to-date sales are off nine percent; from the 51,652 licenses that were sold for the same period in 2011 versus the 47,034 tags that have been issued to-date.

Also, adult spring wild turkey-hunting permit sales are down 12 percent. For the same to-date period in 2011 the Wildlife Division sold 41,901 such tags. This year’s same to-date tally is 36,808 tags.

And that gives hope to Mike Reynolds, the Wildlife Division’s wild turkey management administrator.

Reynolds believes that when the spring turkey-hunting season concludes May 20 the actual number of turkey hunting tags will approach the long-term average of around 75,000 such permits of all kinds.

Reynolds explains that the Wildlife Division’s new license-issuing allows for last-minute online buying that hunters appear to be something of procrastinators.

He cites as a for-instance the come-from-behind sales of the less-expensive youth turkey hunting tags just prior to and during the recently concluded two-day spring wild turkey-hunting season for this demographic group.

The same is may very well bode true for both general resident hunting license and adult turkey tag sales, Reynolds says.

“Right now we sitting at 62,594 turkey permits of all kinds being sold and we still have about three weeks to go with the general spring season,” Reynolds. “So successful hunters may yet buy a second permit while others may simply not have gotten around to turkey hunting; maybe including those hunters who are still out-of-state and who are going after their ‘Grand Slam.’”

- Jeffrey L. Frischkorn
Twitter: @Fieldkorn

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