Hunting license sales decline in 2021, but remain above pre-pandemic levels

The 2022 R3 National Symposium concluded last week in Broken Arrow, Oklahoma. The 220 participants representing more than 100 different organizations interested in hunting and shooting sports were the first to see data released by the Council for the Advancement of Hunting and Shooting Sports (Council), which documents a slight decline in hunting license sales in 2021.

“It’s important to note that the sale of a hunting license does not necessarily equate to one participant, but we often use sales as an indicator of participation trends,” said the council’s director of research and associations, Charles ‘Swanny. ‘ Evans, opening the session. about hunting participation in the Symposium. Swanny went on to present the findings of the Hunting License Sales 2020-2021 report.

This study was the follow-up to the COVID-19 and Hunting License Sales report that the Council released last year, which documented a 4.9 percent increase in hunting license sales from 2019 to 2020. To continue to monitor the impact of the pandemic, the Council reviewed this study in early 2022 to identify ongoing changes and emerging trends in hunter license purchase rates. In collaboration with Southwick Associates, the Council compiled monthly resident and non-resident hunting license sales data from 46 state wildlife agencies to quantify and compare sales from 2021 to 2020. Among the 46 reporting states:

  • Overall, hunting license sales decreased by approximately 1.9% in 2021 compared to 2020.
  • Resident license sales fell 4.0 percent.
  • Non-resident license sales increased 12.9 percent.

“While there was a decrease in resident hunting license purchases in 2021, the increase in non-resident license sales mitigated the overall effect and sales were still higher than 2019 pre-pandemic levels,” Swanny said before turning the discussion to data from another source, the License Sales Dashboard.

The License Sales Dashboard project is generating excitement because it will transition to a real-time dashboard in the near future, providing timely information to the public and R3 professionals. Southwick Associates recently updated it to its current form. Although you only have data from 20 states, the overall trends demonstrated were similar to those Sale of Hunting Licenses 2020 – 2021 report. In addition to those trends, the dashboards provide a more detailed view of various categories by looking at changes in hunting license sales from 2020 to 2021:

  • New recruits (they bought a license in 2021, but none in the previous five years) were down 9 percent.
  • Churn, which shows rotation in hunting (it bought a license in 2020, but not in 2021), is up 1 percent.
  • The only age range monitored that showed an overall increase was the 35-44 age group.

When asked about these projects after the Symposium, Council Executive Director Dr Steven Leath commented: “We are pleased that the commitment to hunting is even higher than it was a couple of years ago and we look forward to continuing to work with everybody. from our partners to increase the number of states providing data to the license data dashboard as we transition from the current form to a real-time resource available to everyone.”

Hunting license 2020-2021 The report, which provides the most representative data on the current state of national and regional hunting license sales, can be accessed on the Council’s website,

The license sales data dashboard, which does not yet have enough states to be truly representative of national trends, but provides valuable information on finer-scale categories than the report mentioned above, can be accessed on the Foundation’s websites. National Shooting Sports or the American Sport Fishing Association.