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Lifetime hunting and fishing license sales
 show dramatic increase
ODWC


Oklahoma outdoor enthusiasts know a bargain when they see one.

Hunters and anglers showed up en masse this June to purchase lifetime hunting and fishing licenses. In June 2002 the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation issued 252 lifetime licenses - this June the Department issued 3,346 lifetime licenses. That’s an increase of 1,327 percent! Even more amazingly, license personnel have an estimated 3,000 to 3,500 licenses yet to be processed from the final rush to beat the license fee increase that took effect July 1.

Each time a hunter or angler purchases a license they are contributing to a wide variety of conservation efforts across the state. The Wildlife Department is the sole state agency entrusted with conserving the state’s unique hunting and fishing heritage. The Department does not receive any
general state tax appropriations and its primary funding source is the sale of annual hunting and fishing licenses, and revenue from a special federal excise tax on hunting and fishing equipment.

“Lifetime hunting and fishing licenses are a great bargain, both in long-term savings and from a convenience standpoint,” said David Warren, chief of information and education for the Wildlife Department. “Based on recent sales, it is evident that the state has a dedicated corps of hunters and anglers.”

In the 2002 fiscal year, 6,997 lifetime licenses were sold generating $2.9 million. In the 2003 fiscal year, lifetime license sales have generated $4.6 million. Revenue from lifetime licenses cannot actually be spent, however. Only the interest income generated from the fund principal is eligible to be spent for Department operations and services.

Additionally, sportsmen have an impressive impact on the state’s overall economy. According to a recent survey, Oklahoma is home to 648,000 anglers and fishermen in the state who spent $476 million on trip and equipment expenditures in 2001. When Oklahoma’s 241,000 hunters stop to eat in rural Oklahoma after a long hunt or when they purchase the latest must have hunting gadget, their spending creates a $573 million ripple effect on the state’s economy. In fact, hunting in Oklahoma supports nearly 7,000 jobs.

Warren added that he anticipates that all lifetime licenses applications will be processed within 30 days and the Department appreciates sportsman’s patience.