COVID-19 and the response to the pandemic has been the "great eraser" of almost every event during the year 2020; and if the event wasn't cancelled due to the pandemic, the results were statistically lower than average (i.e. less people showed up or participated).  However you can't say that about everything.

One activity has shown an increase during this "shut down" year:  deer hunting.  According to multiple news sources, deer hunting license sales in Wisconsin are up around 18% - and the season isn't over yet.  The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources reports that more hunters are in the woods this fall  - a trend that also occurred earlier this year with fishing license sales.

Those increases are good, says "Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources Warden Mark Little.  Both sports have seen a tapering off of participants in recent years:

"When license sales have historically started to fall, I think this year has really been telling to us what the pandemic has done and it’s increased license sales for us which means people are getting out."

The increase in hunters taking to the woods this fall - coupled with this summer's increase in anglers - has also been a boon to commercial store owners that specialize in outdoor goods.  One store owner shared that sales are up - even taking into account the shutdown that had to occur for their business; Tom Rand - who owns Advanced Archery in Hilbert, Wisconsin shared: "Sales have been good this year, they're up 10 to 15% even after having to close for two months during the beginning of the pandemic".

If there's any downside to any of this it could be the increase of outdoorsmen in the woods and on lakes.  DNR officials are reminding individuals to be extra cautious and practice the proper safety techniques for their sport; hunters who might be used to having the whole woods to themselves in the past few years might suddenly discover that someone else they didn't expect  is nearby.

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