B.C. hunting licence sales nearly double during COVID-19 pandemic | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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B.C. hunting licence sales nearly double during COVID-19 pandemic

Image Credit: ADOBE STOCK

More people are learning how to hunt this spring as COVID-19 physical distancing measures are preventing usual gatherings and activities.

With bear hunting season already open April 1 and turkey season starting April 15, Jesse Zeman, director of fish and wildlife restoration with the BC Wildlife Federation, said more hunters are exploring the outdoors, and they're hunting for black bears in the Interior.

The conservation organization has seen a significant increase in hunting licenses and tags for all species overall, Zeman said.

B.C. hunting licence sales have nearly doubled from the previous year. There were 9,073 sales in January, February and March in 2019 compared to 2020 where the conservation organization has seen 17,758 sales during that same time period. Black bear licence sales have more than doubled, spiking from 1,886 in 2019 to 4,803 this year.

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“It seems like a lot more people are picking it up,” Zeman said, adding he expects to see more fishing licenses sold than in previous years once the ice clears off of all the lakes.

So far, only 25,264 fishing licences have been sold, while 2019 had 26,687, but these are only comparing January, February and March sales for each year.

The uptick in hunting licence sales is likely from a combination of factors: some people aren’t liking what they’re seeing in grocery stores, hunters who may have not hunted in previous years are taking it up again, and with new physical distancing measures, more people are spending time in the outdoors, Zeman said.

With the pandemic, everyone is feeling a little anxious and stressed, and one of the best ways to decompress is to go outside, Zeman said.

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry has encouraged people to step outside for a breath of fresh air this weekend while asking that residents continue to physically distance themselves from one another.

Firearm and ammunition sales have also jumped in the last month across the country.

READ MORE: COVID, law fears fuel spike in firearms, ammunition sales across Canada

One store owner in Atlantic Canada said he has seen a huge surge in new shotgun sales and ammunition. Gun sales in the U.S. have also spiked, especially in areas with more cases of COVID-19.

- With files from The Canadian Press


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