One of the only good things to come out of the pandemic was an increase in outdoors sports and hunting in particular. Studies documented a 4.9% increase in hunting license sales from 2019 to 2020 in what was known as the “COVID Bump.”

Unfortunately, that bump that I and other bloggers cheered seems to be over.

A study last year by the Council to Advance Hunting and the Shooting Sports showed a 1.9% decrease in hunting license sales from 2020 to 2021. The latest study just released by the Council indicates license sales decreased by approximately 3.1% in 2022 compared to 2021.

“Our results indicate that the impacts of COVID on getting people outdoors may be waning,” said the Council’s Director of Research and Partnerships, Swanny Evans. “Hunting license sales are settling back to pre-pandemic levels.”

Working with Southwick Associates earlier this year, the Council collected monthly resident and nonresident hunting license sales data from 46 state wildlife agencies to quantify and compare 2022 to 2021 sales. Among the 46 reporting states:

  • Both resident and nonresident license sales were down 3.1%. (Last year’s study showed that non-resident license sales were up.)
  • Just 6 of 46 states saw an overall increase in the number of licenses sold in 2022 compared to 2021.
  • License sales were down overall in each of the 4 geographical regions (Northeast, Southeast, Midwest and West), with percentages ranging from -2.4 to -4.8%.
  • The only months that saw overall increases in license sales – and slight ones at that – were February and September.
  • The surge in nonresident license sales seen in 2021 receded in 3 of the 4 geographical regions, with the only increase seen in the Northeast.

Click here to access the Hunting License Sales 2021 – 2022 report, which provides the most representative data on the current state of hunting license sales nationally and regionally.