By Louie Stout

Indiana and Michigan DNR Divisions of Fish and Wildlife hit the jackpot last year despite the pandemic.

Both states reported across the board license sales in fishing and hunting. When people were out of work or couldn’t do anything else, they took up outdoors activities

For example, Indiana fishing sales were up 21 percent and trout stamps 16 percent.

Hunting license sales were up 18 percent while turkey licenses were up 30 percent. Deer licenses were only up 5 percent, but that doesn’t include the deer license bundle that covered three deer instead of just one. Therefore, deer licenses likely were up dramatically as well.

Michigan sold about 26 more fishing licenses, 27 percent more turkey licenses, 10 percent more hunting licenses and about 40 percent more waterfowler stamps. The state sold more than 32,000 deer licenses as well.

In addition to the license money, both states will be eligible for more federal funds which are based upon license sale numbers.

The fed kitty should soar as well since more people were buying fishing and hunting equipment last year and paid excise tax money into the Pittman-Robertson (hunting) and the Wallop-Breaux (fishing) funds that are returned to the states.

Couple that with taxes paid on boat registrations – and boat sales hit record highs last year – and the state agencies should be flush with funds.

How will it get spent? Ahhh…that’s a good question and something we all should monitor.