Will there be fewer hunters this year?
TRI-COUNTY AREA—Like many recreational activities, concerns about the economy may mean fewer people will be going hunting.
This is even when many people already have a license to participate. But the slumping economy along with other factors, may mean fewer hunters in the field this year.
The regular deer hunting season starts Saturday, Nov. 20. Dave Allen, owner of the Wayne Market and All Outdoors, said the economy will discourage people from hunting. He said hunters will go out when they have a chance, but the priority is on earning a paycheck.
“You can’t take a deer carcass to the bank and pay the mortgage,” said Allen.
Jim Emmons, owner of Seneca Gun Sports in Rock Stream, doesn’t expect a huge drop in hunting, but agreed people are trying to stretch paychecks. He said that if good weather allows construction work to continue, hunters in that business probably won’t take time off to hunt. Emmons added that hunters with their own processing equipment can turn this hobby into a food source.
Emmons said the weather not only affects when people will go hunting, but also where the deer are. He explained that too much heat makes deer not want to roam as much. Emmons said the deer have winter coats on, so get even hotter on a warm day.
Another deterrent may be in how inactive deer hunting can be. Emmons said he is seeing a shift in people going for ducks and geese.
“Deer hunting is very sedentary,” he explained, adding that hunters wait around for the deer to come to them. Emmons said hunters can “get a lot of action” in hunting ducks and geese.
However, many hunters already bought lifetime licenses last year. Effective for last fall’s hunting season, the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation increased hunting license fees across the board. This included the sportsman license going from $37 to $47, small and big game from $19 to $29, and a lifetime license from $600 to $765.
“Fees got a lot of people upset,” said Allen.
Pat Christensen, Milo town clerk, said last year license sales brought in $49,231 because so many hunters brought the lifetime licenses. Now, with two weeks left to sell licenses, she reports Milo has only brought in $18,686. Deborah Riley, Montour town clerk, said people are coming in less for additional doe permits this year as well.
Jane Ike, Hector town clerk, said she encouraged residents to buy the lifetime license when the fees increased. She said that last year, between Aug. 1 and Nov. 30, Hector sold $29,936 worth of licenses. She added that so far this year the town has only sold $12,502 worth.