It was a record year in the state of Utah for fishing and hunting licenses.
“It was a pretty significant sales year, as far as our hunting and fishing licenses go," Faith Jolley said. "This was by far the most licenses we’ve sold in a one year period. By far.”
Jolley is the public information officer at the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources. She said while they suspected there would be an increase in license sales due to the pandemic, it was way more than anticipated.
From March 2020 to February 2021 the DWR sold 417, 883 fishing licenses, which is an increase of more than 100,000 from the year before. 68,265 hunting licenses were sold compared to 50,551 from the year before.
The DWR usually sees an increase in license sales each year of about 2%, but this year the increase was 28%.
Many of the fishing licenses were sold to first-time customers. Combination licenses allow the holder to both hunt and fish, and 222,124 were sold compared to 183,358 the year before.
Jolley said some people may assume the great year for sales goes to someone’s pocket, when in reality, all the money used to purchase hunting and fishing licenses is used to help conserve wildlife.
“Anytime somebody buys a fishing or hunting license, you are helping conserve wildlife in Utah for future generations, because that funding is used for different projects," she said. "For example, improving habitat for the different fish and wildlife species.”
Jolley said the increase may be credited to people wanting to spend more time outdoors during a year that has been challenging for many.
Editor's Note: A previous version of this story and the audio version of the story incorrectly stated the percentage that license sales increase this year. The text of this article has been updated to reflect the correct number.