Hunting and fishing on the rise in bad economy

Jun 17, 2011

Are more people hunting and fishing for food during these tough economic times? Possibly. However, the recent upturn in the number of people buying a hunting and fishing license is probably due to unemployed construction workers with more time on their hands, one department official said.

The uptick in sales is certainly an anomaly in the otherwise sustained slow decline in the percentage of the population that hunts or fishes.  That's real and ongoing. 

But something odd happened to license sales after the great recession:  Idaho, Oregon and Washington all sold more resident hunting and fishing licenses.

Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife marketing coordinator David Lane gives credit to underemployed construction workers.

"As there was a downturn in new construction, there was then an uptick in hunter participation because now folks had more time. Because of that, they were willing to go hunting.”

The discretionary spending has its limits.  Sales of more expensive non-resident hunting and fishing tags declined during the recession in most categories. Overall in the Northwest, agency managers say money for fish and wildlife departments remains very tight.

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