Contributors to this thread:
Pat Lefemine's Link
Covid and Hunting - One Year Later?
It's been a year since we published our predictions on how the pandemic may effect hunting and the industry. On the anniversary of that article we discuss what we got right, what we got wrong, and predictions for the next year.
Very interesting. Thanks for putting it together.
I hadn't taken the time to look up any statistics, but felt that outdoor participation was abnormally high in 2020. I saw a LOT of people on public land in WY general this year, and wondered if it was normal or a pandemic response. I think I can surmise an answer to that.
I'm going to disagree on the domestic goes back to normal. With the move to remote work, hunters can now actually hunt more. Even remote hunts. Locally here in WY one thing I noticed was the flood of "summer trailers" didn't really lighten up well into hunting season. Camping spots on national forest land, usually not full in Oct/Nov, remained full. I get it people weren't working, they hunted.
My thought is that now that so many of us have helped prove tele-working is effective, how many will work from the hunting trailer and hunt part of every day? I live in WY and work east coast hours. So as Pat said "in the woods by 5:30" after work? Well that's 3:30 for me!
Agree 100% with Bob. My state has been pretty much 100% open since last summer. I have never seen more people in the woods or on the water. It has only gotten worse this spring. We sold 30% more archery turkey licenses last year and I bet we sold a similar increase again this year. Especially in areas like the Black Hills. Is this the new normal? Applications up insane amounts for western draw hunts this year is another indicator. Hunters are increasing in numbers which is great, but where are they going to hunt? Access was already an issue when numbers were declining. A huge problem is coming at us faster than we think and I certainly don't know how we will solve it.
Hank Patterson put together a really insightful piece on the long-term impact of COVID/WFH on the outdoor experience.
Pat, the supply chain disruption was correctly predicted, but much of it was short-lived and ultimately overshadowed by demand driven by WFH and government stimulus.
My understanding is a number of outdoor companies are still dealing with supply chain issues a year later.
Hank Patterson is a funny dude
I definitely hunted more, and was more successful than usual. I did not feel that I saw more deer hunters in the two states I hunted (and I hunt primarily public land), but I definitely saw more turkey and waterfowl hunters. More hunters did not seem to impact our success in the turkey woods and duck marsh. We did great on both.
Camping last summer was insane. This summer is looking to be the same. If you want a reservation at a State Park, you need to log in at midnight 120 days before you want to go.
So since sponsors had best year ever does that mean the pop ups are going away?? ;)
I wonder if the virus didn't cause some people to consider their mortality and the ludicrousness of spending all one's life at work, postponing their dreams; which could encourage people to get into the woods more and take that once-in-a-lifetime trip.
Very interesting take Ike- I hadn't thought of it like that. I bet there's some truth in that.
Just rolled over my Canadian bear hunt to 2022 for the second time. Fortunately the Outfitter is a quality guy who will make it work.
Other than that COVID hasn’t effected me personally but has forever weakened our Republic.
I think we are seeing the survival of the fittest in the outfitters' world. Those that had/have capital will be able to hang on to leases, possible gain desired leases and retain help. Those with less financial clout will sadly be forced to surrender.
Increased camping at state parks, etc.
Continued increase of hunting on public land. Those folks who have been financially stretched may be force to give up deer camp memberships.
Hunting supply chain has been totally disrupted both in archery and especially in guns, ammo and reloading supplies.
I am wondering the impact on traveling to national/international conventions, etc. because of finances and health concerns.
Not the best of times for many people and companies.
I really enjoyed your state.
I'm about 14 months out from having it and I did get a 2nd shot last week, other than still having some bad days breathing, it didn't really change my hunting time or my hunting $pending last year.
Hopefully everything will continue to get better.
Good luck, Robb
NJ is a hunting hellhole?? Wait till I tell Shug and Embry.....
I ordered arrows 6 weeks ago. Hopefully I’ll get them next week. That used to only take 2-3 weeks at the most......I have about 10 different grains and types of ammo for my 7 mag. If I end up having to rifle hunt due to not drawing anything, siting in will be slow and meticulous and making damn sure I’m using what shoots best out of the rifle. I don’t have any ammo to spare and finding it is still next to impossible.
Charlie for the win, unfortunately!!
Rolled my bear hunt over for the second year as well. Feel bad for everyone negatively impacted. Hopefully we are rounding the corner!
It certainly increased my business. More than doubled it to the point that I quit processing wild game last year. Will probably be that way from now on. I can process 10 beef in about 2 days and would need to process about 30-35 elk to make the same amount of money. Easy business decision.
I agree about the camping situation, I believe there are actually a lot more folks living in their RVs than ever before. Areas where I live are full and booked for turkey season, that never happens. They are definitely not turkey hunters but the turkey hunters are going to suffer. My wife and I are selling everything and going to full time RV living, I am gonna hunt from mid august til Christmas all around the country. The problem is trying to book campsites even 4 to 6 months in advance is very tough. Covid did not impact my hunting at all but it impacted my life. Where we are in 6 months from now will be the new normal. Shawn
Well-written article. Good summaries for sure. Definitely curious what the other side of Covid is going to look like. I know that I certainly missed travelling to your awesome country to hunt turkeys in the spring...
One complete miss on my part is the impact of Covid to hunting organizations and their dependence on conventions and fundraising. It's been devastating for many orgs whose finances depend on gatherings and conventions to raise operating expenses. PY comes to mind, although I have no idea what state their finances are in. I'm sure State orgs are in the same boat. That's something that will come back, if the orgs can stay viable in the meantime.
Sorry to broach this on a bowhunting site, but it is related- I'm wondering if the scarcity of gun ammunition will cause an influx of bowhunters this year. I like to hunt big game with my bow all of September, then switch to pheasants with my shotgun - but if shells are as hard to find then as they are now, I'll find somewhere I can bowhunt deer in October and November, too.