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Hunting license sales top 2,700

Oct. 19, 2012 @ 12:00 AM

BECKLEY -- West Virginia's new lifetime hunting and fishing license for seniors appears to be a hit, with sales topping 2,700.

"It's pretty well tracking the figure we presented several years ago when we looked at the U.S. Census Bureau data, indicating how many seniors we had that hunted and fished," DNR Wildlife Chief Curtis Taylor told The Register-Herald.

The DNR had sold 2,756 licenses as of late last week. Sales are expected to grow in the future as West Virginia's baby boomers age and swell the population of people aged 65 and older.

As of Jan. 1, West Virginians aged 65 and older who want to hunt or fish are required to purchase the $25 one-time license. It allows seniors to hunt during small game, turkey, bear and deer seasons. They also can fish for both trout and warm water fish, as well as trap fur-bearing animals.

"Some people don't have to have a license but they're buying it because there is an advantage," Taylor said.

"You get more antlerless deer. And I think one of the big selling points is that you can participate in those youth hunts with your grandkids, which I think is a great thing," said Natural Resources director Frank Jezioro, who received license No. 1.

Taylor said the new license also will allow the DNR to obtain more federal funding under the 1937 Federal Aid in Wildlife Restoration law.

Under the law, the Interior secretary distributes proceeds from an 11 percent excise tax on firearms and ammunition to the states. A state's allocation is based on area and the number of licensed hunters.

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