For Immediate Release
(Washington, D.C.) – This week marks one year since COVID-19 swept the country and altered Americans’ daily lives. Reports throughout 2020 highlighted the impact COVID-19 had on Americans and spotlighted their pursuit to get outdoors, connect with nature and escape the effects of the pandemic. Participation in outdoor recreation activities soared and as previous media coverage indicated, early reports suggested hunting license sales increased as well. The Council to Advance Hunting and the Shooting Sports initiated a study in early 2021 to investigate how COVID-19 impacted hunters’ rates of purchasing licenses. The Council worked with Southwick Associates to collect license data from more than 40 state fish and wildlife agencies and review monthly license sales for residents and nonresidents for 2019 and 2020.
The data collected for this study indicate an approximate 5% increase in hunting license sales year over year between 2019 and 2020. Resident sales increased by 5.4% and nonresident sales increased by 1.6% during this same period. Council staff will release preliminary results this week during the 2021 North American Wildlife and Natural Resources Conference, and a full report will be available later in March on the Council’s website.
“A preliminary analysis of these data suggests COVID-19 impacted license sale trends differently across the regions. We saw an initial fallout in sales in March when COVID-19 first set in as we expected, however, sales picked up throughout the summer months and then eased into the fall,” commented Dr. Steven Leath, Executive Director of the Council. “Now that we have seen an increase in sales, our collective community goal will be to retain those participants into fall 2021 and beyond, and the Council will work with state fish and wildlife agencies and other partners to ensure we do just that,” Leath concluded.
For more information on the COVID-19 and Hunting project, please visit https://cahss.org/covid-19-and-hunting/”.