In spite of a record-breaking wet spring and half a summer, the sale of Ohio fishing licenses has not floundered like one would expect during a period of intense and prolonged heavy rain showers.
A hit, yes, but hardly a knock-out blow to the state’s Wildlife Fund. The same is true for the early sales of Ohio general hunting licenses and their various associated species-specific tags.
Indeed, sales of both non-resident fishing and general fishing licenses are actually up slightly when compared to the same 2014 to-date figures.
For June, 2015 alone and for Cleveland, a total of 8.52 inches of rain fell. That figure was enough to propel June 2014 as the third wettest June ever for Cleveland. The average rainfall for Cleveland is 3.43 inches.
It was even wetter in Youngstown which officially saw 9.02 inches while 8.31 inches fell in Akron during the month of June.
So with all of this rain that fell and causing rivers to flood, Lake Erie to rise and generally play havoc on when and where anglers could fish it is only natural to assume that fishing license sales would flush down and out.
In real dollar and cents terms such is not the case, though.
For the period through July 7th the Ohio Department of Natural Resources’ Division of Wildlife sold 530,763 adult resident fishing licenses. For the same period last year the figure was 563,595.
Thus the agency experienced a drop of 5.83 percent, not nice but considering how many anglers experienced rain delays and missions scrubbed because of the steady rain drum beat, a drop of less than 6 percent should be considered salvageable.
It is important to remember, however, that by early July the bulk of annual fishing licenses of all classes have reached their peak. Last year Ohio sold a total of 662,471 adult resident fishing licenses.
Down, too, were sales of resident one-day fishing licenses (off 8.60 percent), and one-day Lake Erie charter resident fishing license (off 8.25 percent.)
However, non-resident anglers continue to fish in the rain, if fishing license sales to them are any indicator.
The do-date by July 7th sales of non-resident adult fishing license was up 4.89 percent; or 30,571 this year compared to the same 2014 period with a sale of 29,147 adult non-resident fishing licenses.
Up as well have been non-resident one-day Lake Erie charter boat licenses (up 4.34 percent).
Down, however, was the sale of one-day non-resident general fishing licenses (off 5.67 percent).
In terms of hunting licenses, the poor weather may be spooking resident hunters more than it is their non-resident counterparts.
The to-date sale of Ohio adult general hunting licenses was 57,021 with its comparable 2014 figure of 58,350, or a drop of 2.28 percent.
Of course sales of Ohio hunting licenses have hardly begun. Last year Ohio issued 272,196 general adult hunting licenses, which leaves plenty of sales daylight left to play catch up.
A figure that may alarm Ohio sportsmen who believe non-residents are getting too much of a price break in terms of deer tag sales may have new ammunition as to the correctness of their opinion.
The 2015 to-date sale of Ohio resident either-sex deer tags was 943 while the comparable 2014 figure was 982, or a drop of 3.97 percent. Granted such numbers are miniscule when compared to the 2014 total of 287,750 such tags but the fact remains the trend is downward and not up.
That “up” belongs to non-resident deer hunters. Here the 2015 to-date sale of either sex tags to non-residents was 210 and compared to the 185 for the same to-date period in 2014.
Again, such paltry numbers do need a reality check since in 2014 the state sold 46,980 either-sex tags to non-residents. Even so, it can be argued that this category requires monitoring to see if a trend is developing toward non-resident deer hunters continuing to enjoy Ohio’s low-cost deer tags.
Yet in another hunting arena the sales of a particular tag type to non-residents went up while the opposite was true for Ohio resident hunters.
The sale of 2015 spring turkey tags to Ohio resident hunters was down 2.61 percent when compared to 2014. The numbers are 41,392 for this year and 42,501 for 2014.
For non-residents, the sale of spring turkey tags to them increased by 2.43 percent; or 3,628 such tags sold compared to 3,542 such permits sold in 2014.
Other noteworthy drops include the to-day sales of one-day shooting range permits – 10,454 this year with the comparable 2014 to-date sales figure of 10,916.
Also down is the 2015 to-date sale of annual shooting range permits: 7,387 and compared to the same 2014 to-date period of 7,519 permits.
Jeffrey L. Frischkorn
Jeff is the retired News-Herald reporter who covered the earth sciences, the area's three county park systems and the outdoors for the newspaper. During his 30 years with The News-Herald Jeff was the recipient of more than 100 state, regional and national journalism awards. He also is a columnist and features writer for the Ohio Outdoor News, which is published every other week and details the outdoors happenings in the state.