Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Some downs but mostly ups in to-date sales of Ohio fishing/hunting licenses

This year's up and down temperatures and erratic weather patterns did not appear to have impacted sales of Ohio fishing licenses.

As for hunting license sales, some forms are lagging from what occurred for the same period last year.

To-date sales of the $19 adult resident fishing licenses (which make up the bulk of such tags sold and resulting income) is 637,024 compared to 633,461 for the same period last year.

In all, 648,044 resident fishing licenses were sold in Ohio during 2012.

And while looking at the various other categories of available for-sale fishing licenses only two showed declines, and each of those were of minimal shortfalls involving largely obscure non-resident angling tag categories.

“Except for March where last year we had a huge number of early fishing license sales, each month in 2013 has seen higher sales,” said Andy Burke, the Wildlife Division's go-to expert on agency license sales.

Burt said as well that if any poor weather had kept anglers from fishing on Lake Erie the sales of fishing licenses did not take any corresponding hit.

Ditto in regards to Inland Ohio, in spite of a generally wet and dreary late June and July, Burt says.

“Since then it's been very mild in the way of temperatures with only occasional rain or a thundershower,” Burt said.

Burt says also that while 2011 was a poor weather year for fishing in Ohio, and subsequently for fishing license sales, both 2012 and 2013 have scored very nice gains.

“They're pretty much right at or a little above the five-year mean for fishing license sales,” Burt said.

With the sales of Ohio fishing licenses are now into their seasonal declines their hunting license sale counterparts are (mostly) on the uptick.

Sales of the all-important $19 resident general hunting licenses are so far doing very well, says the statistics provided by Burt.

The to-date sales of these documents as of today (Sept. 9) stood at 93,677. That compares to the identical 2012 to-date period sales of 88,043 documents.

In all last year the Wildlife Division issued 282,350 resident hunting license, the base document which all qualifying Ohio adult hunters and trappers must first possess.

Very good news is being recorded so far with the sale of the $10 youth apprentice hunting licenses, too. So far the to-date sales of these documents is up about 18 percent; an increase from the 2012 to-date issuance of 2,946 licenses to the 2013 to-date issuance of 3,465 licenses.

In all during 2012 the Wildlife Division sold 15,826 apprentice youth hunting licenses.

Up also is the sale of the $15 Wetlands Habitat (state duck) Stamp, required of all resident and non-resident adult duck and goose hunters.

So far the to-date sales of state duck stamps amounts to 12,416. That compares to the similar 2012 to-date figure of 11,419 state duck stamps.

In all during 2012, the Wildlife Division sold 21,435 state duck stamps.

Perhaps sales of these duck stamps are up because of the liberalization of duck- and goose-hunting seasons and bag limits in effect for 2013. Whatever the reason, the Wildlife Division is happy to take the waterfowlers' dollars.

Now comes the downside in regards to hunting document sales.

Off are the to-date sales of both resident and non-resident fall turkey tags, each costing $24.

In looking over the sales of fall turkey tags to Ohio resident the to-date number is 559 and compared to the 2012 to-date figure of 869. That is a drop of nearly 36 percent.

In all during 2012 the Wildlife Division sold 5,190 fall turkey-hunting tags. Obviously there is more than enough wiggle room on the calender before the Oct. 14 start of Ohio's fall turkey-hunting season.

Not to be an alarmist by any stretch, Burt does note that the sale of Ohio deer-hunting tags is off when compared to the same 2012 to-date period.

Broken done and using the figures supplied today (Sept. 9) by the Wildlife Division, resident adult Ohio hunters have thus far bought 15,028 either-sex tags, each costing $24.

During the same 2012 to-date period resident deer hunters bought 17,675 either-sex tags. That's a drop of 16 percent.

Purchases of either-sex deer tags by adult non-residents has likewise slackened; off 26 percent.

In all, during 2012 the Wildlife Division sold 288,980 either-sex tags to resident adult deer hunters and 44,982 either sex tags to non-resident adult deer hunters.

Of course it is still early in the deer license sales ballgame, Burt quickly notes, with the start of the statewide archery deer-hunting season not until Sept. 28.

Sales of the $15 adult antlerless-only tags are down, too, Burt says.

His Wildlife Division-supplied to-date figures indicate that Ohio resident adult deer hunters have purchased 7,015 antlerless only tags while non-resident adult deer hunters have purchased only 829 antlerless-only permits.

The respective 2012 to-date figures were 8,754 and 1,157 antlerless-only tags.

Note that during all of 2012 the Wildlife Division sold 298,880 either-sex tags to Ohio adult resident deer hunters; 44,942 either-sex tags to non-resident adult deer hunters; 86,052 antlerless-only permits to Ohio adult resident deer hunters; and 14,049 antlerless-only permits to non-resident dadult eer hunters.

Perhaps one of the more curious declines is seen in the sales of shooting range permits.

Given the boom in sales of firearms and ammunition one might naturally assume purchasers would be eager to practice on a shooting range somewhere. Yet based on the sales of the Wildlife Division's annual and daily shooting range permits such may not be the case.

So far 9,441 annual shooting range permits have been sold and compared to the same 2012 to-date figure of 9,729. In both cases the cost for such a permit is $24.

The total number of annual shooting range permits for 2012 was 10,720 by-the-way.

Meanwhile, sales of the Wildlife Division's $5 daily range permits are also off.

The 2012 to-date sale of these one-time range permits was 20,083 while this year's to-date figure is 18,992.

In all during 2012 the Wildlife Division sold 38,756 one-day shooting range permits.

“The year-to-date sales of hunting licenses is thus far up, and which is a good thing,” Burt says.

Even so, Burt says he is not ready to draw any conclusions, given the earliness of the hunting season hour.

“I'm expecting sales to greatly increase as the archery deer-hunting season opens and before the early antlerless-only muzzle-loading season Oct. 12 and 13,” Burt said. “And let's wait until Thanksgiving to see if the sales are still below those of last year.”

What may surprise a lot of Ohio sportsmen is the depth and breadth of documents the Wildlife Division sells; and beyond the standard hunting, trapping and fishing permits, of which there exists a rather lengthy tally.

We have, for instance, the sale of duplicate licenses (up 31.2 percent to-date this year, and which is silly since sportsmen can simply photo-copy their documents and put them in a safe place); donations to the Wildlife Fund, the Habitat Fund, and the Diversity and Endangered Fund (up 26.46 percent, up 25.2 percent, and up 20.82 percent, respectively); Legacy Stamp sales (up 25.63 percent); Gift Certificates (down 44,63 percent but based on some really tiny numbers anyway), and no fewer than six categories of Wild Ohio subscription programs.

Okay so the very rock-bottom of the bottommost line is that to-date the Wildlife Division has collected a total of $20,279,252.25.

For the identical to-date 2012 period that figure was $19,937,324.

In all during 2012 the Wildlife Division earned $39,718,741.50.

Consequently, no matter how one slices the pie, Ohio's hunters, anglers and trappers continue to back with their wallets sound fish, game and non-game management and related fish and wildlife law-enforcement programs.

- Jeffrey L. Frischkorn


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