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Sales of hunting and fishing licenses increase across the board

DES MOINES — The Iowa Natural Resources Commission got a report on the record increases in the sale of hunting and fishing licenses during their meeting Wednesday.

The Conservation and Recreation Administrator for the DNR, Pete Hildreth, gave a report that started with fishing licenses. “We had 439,760 licenses — and that’s including both resident and nonresident. That’s 82,219 more than in 2019,” Hildreth says.

He says those sales easily surpassed the all-time record. “That’s approximately 37,200 more licenses than our previous high in 2016 — which is very exciting,” he says. Hildreth says there was one particular area that he was happy to see. “We sold 55,496 trout licenses. That’s 10,915 more — about a 20 percent increase. Which is 6,511 more than the previous high which was set back in 2017,” according to Hildreth.

Hildreth says the license boon wasn’t limited to fishing. “We saw an increase of 10,311 hunting licenses as compared to the 2019 total. Which was about a 20% increase,” Hildreth says.

Hildreth says the license increases were across the spectrum. “And even in things that we’ve been seeing declines in the past — we have been seeing increases,” Hildreth says. “For example, with migratory bird sales — we saw an increase of 1,174 licenses compared to 2019.”

The popular deer shotgun hunting seasons also saw gains — starting with the first season. “We had an increase of 3,806 licenses compared to last year. Shotgun season two we really saw an increase of 11,186 for shotgun two,” he says.

Hildreth says the confinement of the pandemic is the key factor in the records.

“People really wanted to come out and experiences the outdoors,” Hildreth says. Hildreth says they are still figuring how the increase in license sales will impact their budget.

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