Thursday, May 9, 2019

Cool, wet spring not drowning out Ohio fishing license sales

Sales of many – but not all – of Ohio’s various fishing licenses do not appear to have been dampened by this spring’s generally cool, excessively wet weather.

However, these conditions do seem to have shot holes in the to-date sales of one-day and seasonal shooting range permits, resident hunting license sales, along with both non-resident and youth spring turkey-hunting permits.

To-date figures from February 22nd through May 7th - and supplied by the Ohio Division of Wildlife via its computerized license-issuing system - point to the issuance of 246,513 resident fishing licenses. That figure is actually up from its corresponding 2018 time frame of 235,316 resident fishing license being issued, or an increase of 4.8 percent.

Noteworthy also is that the additional resident fishing license sales added another $201,546 to the agency’s Wildlife Fund.

An 8.7 percent jump was seen also in the to-date sale of three-day fishing licenses along with a 9.3 percent rise in the number of one-day non-resident fishing licenses.

On the downturn were sales of one-day resident, one-day resident Lake Erie charter fishing, and one-day non-resident Lake Erie charter licenses. The latter two categories each saw sales drops of more than 24 percent. The drops in these categories could be attributed to the numerous storms that buffeted Lake Erie from late March through press time.

Hit too, were sales of seasonal non-resident fishing licenses, dropping by 7.8 percent. Meanwhile, sales of the reduced cost (senior citizen) annual fishing licenses were down only 1.2 percent.

The net result is that Ohio actually issued more fishing licenses of all kinds – 22 in number to be exact – from February 22nd to May 7th than it did for the same period in 2018. The figure totaled 38,107 more fishing licenses and permits being issued for an additional $626,143 going into the Wildlife Fund.

The fact that fishing license sales are up compared to last year’s is promising and certainly better than being down,” said Andy Burt, the Wildlife Division’s license coordinator for the Division of Wildlife.

 “Sales are also strong for our multiyear licenses, and the automatic renewal of hunting and fishing licenses is now an option for those who purchase at ”  
However, Burt also says “as we have seen in the last few weeks, spring weather is highly variable.”

So sales typically do fluctuate widely until we get into mid-June when weather and sales typically settle in,” Burt said.

Hunting license and permit sales were good too, though not with the dramatic flare seen for their fishing license and tag counterparts. Here, resident hunting license sales were down 6.5 percent and reduced cost (senior citizen) hunting license sales were off 8.2 percent.

Also dropping were sales of youth spring turkey permits – down 5.7 percent – and non-resident spring turkey permits – down 1.4 percent.

Taking the biggest dive off the cliff were sales of shooting range permits, the tags being required at several shooting ranges operated by the Wildlife Division. To-date as noted during the measured period the agency had sold 3,708 one-day range permits for a decline of 32 percent, and 2,967 annual range permits for a drop of 28.6 percent.

Lumping the sales of range permits and “Wild Ohio” magazine subscriptions, waterfowl habitat stamps, the Wildlife Division’s hunting permit/license extensive stockpile numbers 70 items.

In all, to date as of May 7th, the Wildlife Division had issued 516,215 hunting associated documents. That figure is up from the 482,533 documents the agency issued during the corresponding period in 2018.

For accounting purposes, this increase has thus far added another $659,787 to the Wildlife Fund.

- By Jeffrey L. Frischkorn

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