Skip to main content Skip to main content

Deer Season Provided Relief in Midst of Lockdowns

Hunting license and permit purchases spike across the country.

Deer Season Provided Relief in Midst of Lockdowns

The 2020 deer season is providing relief for lockdown-weary sportsmen and continuing to fund a number of wildlife programs. (Photo by W. Scott McGill/Shutterstock)

Earlier this year, many wildlife officials feared sweeping lockdown measures put into place to reduce COVID-19 would threaten their workplaces — and not just over the short term. Licenses and permits for hunting whitetails are the principal revenue sources for nearly all wildlife agencies east of the Rocky Mountains. Thus, any reduction in deer hunter interest, opportunities or access was of great concern.

Fortunately, despite ongoing lockdowns around North America, nearly all whitetail opportunities have been salvaged. And it appears hunters have responded enthusiastically.

While not all the numbers have been crunched, license sales have shown hunters were eager to get back outdoors. And even with higher unemployment and ongoing concerns over land access, a huge number of hunters were willing to spend for the privilege.

New York is a great example. At this writing the state remains under tight lockdown of many public areas and workplaces, but hunting license sales have been through the roof. In fact, nearly three times as many licenses and deer permits were sold on the first day of availability this year as last year.

And the spike continued from there. The Department of Environment Conservation sold over $6.2 million in licenses in the first two weeks they were available, an increase of 77 percent over the $3.5 million in sales for the same period last year.

“With New Yorkers looking for more ways to enjoy the outdoors during the COVID-19 pandemic, we are seeing tremendous interest in outdoor recreation and in the sports of fishing, hunting and trapping, including record sales of big-game hunting and trapping licenses,” notes DEC Commissioner Basil Seggos.

Anecdotal evidence from many other states and provinces reflects a similar trend. Some people might not yet be able to go back to work, and there continue to be restrictions on large public gatherings, but they still can go to the woods — and millions want to do so. Meanwhile, wildlife agencies are continuing to receive the funding needed to manage game species, along with other types of wildlife and fisheries for which they are responsible.

GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.

Recommended Articles

Recent Videos

Magazine Cover

GET THE MAGAZINE Subscribe & Save

Digital Now Included!


Give a Gift   |   Subscriber Services


Buy Digital Single Issues

Magazine App Logo

Don't miss an issue.
Buy single digital issue for your phone or tablet.

Buy Single Digital Issue on the North American Whitetail App

Other Magazines

Special Interest Magazines

See All Special Interest Magazines

GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.

Get the top North American Whitetail stories delivered right to your inbox.

Phone Icon

Get Digital Access.

All North American Whitetail subscribers now have digital access to their magazine content. This means you have the option to read your magazine on most popular phones and tablets.

To get started, click the link below to visit and learn how to access your digital magazine.

Get Digital Access

Not a Subscriber?
Subscribe Now

Enjoying What You're Reading?

Subscribe Now and Get a Full Year

Offer only for new subscribers.

Subscribe Now