FERNANDINA BEACH, Fla. — As state game agencies around the country employ the internet to make hunting and fishing licenses easier for sportsmen to buy and information on sporting regulations simpler to obtain, the traditional route of purchasing a license at a local retailer before heading outdoors remains a popular option. Research conducted by HunterSurvey.com and AnglerSurvey.com found that 58 percent of those hunters surveyed still purchase their licenses through a retailer, while 61 percent of surveyed anglers bought theirs at a local store as well. Retailers often count on their role as a sporting license vendor to lead to additional sales of hunting- and fishing-related equipment when consumers visit to buy a permit.
Game agency efforts at using the internet have not gone unrewarded however, and there is plenty of evidence that a sizable number of sportsmen appreciate the convenience on-line availability provides. As many as 24 percent of hunters and 25 percent of surveyed anglers reported purchasing licenses online. Additionally, more than 17 percent of hunters and just over 14 percent of fishermen bought permits directly through a game agency or government office or through some other source. Of 5,750 hunters and shooters surveyed, 90 percent said they had either purchased a license or planned to purchase a license this year. Nearly that same percentage of the 2,391 anglers surveyed had either purchased or planned to purchase a license.
“This indicates a real win-win for game departments, sporting goods retailers and sportsmen,” said Rob Southwick, president of Southwick Associates, which designs and conducts the surveys at HunterSurvey.com, ShooterSurvey.com and AnglerSurvey.com. “The traditional experience of going to the sporting goods store to buy a license and other key items before the season or a big trip can still be had, while those seeking the ultimate in convenience, particularly when making a last-minute purchase when a store might otherwise be far away or closed, is also available. It’s always a good thing for consumers to have options that make participating in hunting and fishing easier, particularly when a lack of that convenience might make them less likely to engage in the activities they enjoy.”
Even with every state game agency in the country now providing regulations, season dates, bag limits and other hunting and fishing information online, as well as the popularity of digital products such as websites, apps, mobile phones and smart tablets, it is interesting to note that the printed regulations book remains a critical resource to today’s hunter and angler. More than 84 percent of surveyed hunters said they had received or expect to receive the regulations booklet. Of that number, a whopping 96 percent said they have read or plan to read the booklet, with more than 54 percent revealing they read it more than once and nearly 24 percent citing they use it as a resource throughout the season.
On the fishing side, 89 percent of survey respondents said they have read or plan to read the regulations booklet, with more than 54 percent revealing they read it more than once and 17 percent saying they use it as a resource all season.
To help continually improve, protect and advance the shooting sports and outdoor recreation, all sportsmen and sportswomen are encouraged to participate in the surveys at HunterSurvey.com, ShooterSurvey.com and AnglerSurvey.com. Each month, participants who complete the survey are entered into a drawing for one of five $100 gift certificates to the sporting goods retailer of their choice.