MOUNT VERNON — The Sunday before deer-gun season in Ohio is traditionally the peak day of the year for hunting license sales and this year seemed to be no exception.
In numbers released by the Ohio Division of Wildlife, last year, Ohio sold 49,748 licenses on Nov. 30. This season’s statewide totals are not yet available, but so far in Knox County, 3,203 resident deer hunting licenses have been sold (through Nov. 30). A total of 20,360 licenses, spanning all hunting and fishing, have been sold year-to-date. The numbers do not necessarily include the totals from the past weekend, as the Division of Wildlife system is not a real-time system.
Preliminary deer totals from opening day in Knox County are 712, which is lower than the 954 deer taken on opening day last season. Weather on Monday was much better than in 2008, when intermittent rain or snow hampered hunters across the state. Weather this year was much better, but the numbers were still lower for other reasons according to Knox County Wildlife Officer Mike Miller.
“Hunting pressure changes each season and that can affect the numbers,” said Miller. “Also there is a tremendous amount of standing corn this season and that gives deer better places to hide. Also, we’ve estimated the deer herd to be down by about down five percent in county, and that will affect the totals. We’ll just have to wait and see the total effect when the season comes to a close, but I expect the numbers to be close to where they were last year.”
Hunters took 3,067 deer during the week-long gun season in 2008.
Ohio had 1,270 license sales locations in 2008 with the location with the highest numbers of licenses sold coming from the Internet, which was the single most popular outlet, with 166,008 sold in the 2008-09 license year. This is five percent of total license sales.
Following behind the Internet are national or regional chain stores. The top corporate sales outlets include the Walmart in New Philadelphia with 16,901 licenses sold to rank it second. The Walmart locations in Marietta and Port Clinton followed behind with 14,843 and 13,283, respectively. The fifth highest sales outlet was Gander Mountain in Warren with 13,243. Ranking 10th on the list with 12,398 is the Mount Vernon Walmart.
In 2008, 448,807 hunting licenses and 886,479 fishing licenses were sold. Ohio ranks fourth nationally for the number of resident sportsmen with 1.5 million anglers and hunters spending $5.3 million dollars a day with total annual spending estimated at 1.9 billion.
Ohio ranks eighth nationally in annual hunting-related sales and 10th in the number of jobs associated with the hunting-related industry. Each year, hunting has an $859 million economic impact in Ohio through the sale of equipment, fuel, food, lodging, etc. Sport fishing in Ohio generates $1.1 billion of economic impact annually Estimates from 2006 put the number of Ohio jobs related to sport fishing at 20,000 ranking Ohio 11th nationally. Ohio ranks 13th in retail sales of sport fishing related items in the U.S. with nearly $500 million in sales annually.