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Pandemic boosts Nevada’s wildlife and outdoor industries

By Sudhiti Naskar

The Nevada Department of Wildlife reported a 12% increase in hunting license sales and a 25% increase in fishing license sales, for 2020, during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

As Nevada’s local businesses and outlets for recreation closed or accepted a limited number of guests following strict guidelines in place due to COVID-19, more Nevadans turned to nature and wildlife for peace, healing and relaxation, said Tony Wasley, director of the Nevada Department of Wildlife during a statewide media briefing by the Governor’s Task Force on Monday. 

This is unusually good business, Wasley said, adding that 2021 is already forecasted to be profitable for the department just five-weeks into the year. NDOW is 20% ahead of last year’s numbers during the same timeframe in terms of fishing and hunting license sales.

Hikers, birdwatchers, campers, hunters and anglers have been visiting Nevada’s beautiful natural sites driving up sales of outdoor equipment like kayaks, binoculars and fishing supplies, so much so that sales outpaced inventory and manufacturing capacity for equipment.

This is good news for multiple reasons, officials said. 

The sales of equipment for outdoor sports directly contributes to the local economy and helps the state overall as Nevada experienced a historic budget shortfall during 2020 with the onset of COVID-19 pandemic. 

Also, it benefits Nevada’s conservation efforts, as hunting and fishing licensing remain the primary source of funding for wildlife conservation. 

Conservation investments generate 15 to 33 jobs per million dollars and an economic return of $2.40 for every $1 invested, according to an analysis of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. 

Witnessing the unusually high volume of people turning to nature, the department introduced the #ResponsibleRecreation campaign to promote masking, handwashing and social distancing measures to ensure that people were enjoying themselves in a safe and responsible manner.

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