Cedar Rapids, Iowa (AP) – Fewer Iowans are buying hunting and fishing licenses, but state officials say that doesn't necessarily mean interest in the sports are waning.
Sales of hunting licenses to Iowa residents dropped 13 percent from 2007 to last year, and resident fishing licenses declined about 4 percent during that period.
Nationally, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service estimates hunting is up 9 percent and fishing has increased 11 percent.
Joe Larscheid, chief of the Iowa Department of Natural Resources Fisheries Bureau, tells The Gazette in Cedar Rapids that the national numbers are based on interviews. He says fishing remains strong in Iowa and license declines could reflect recent flooding.
DNR spokesman Kevin Baskins says declining pheasant populations hurt hunting license sales. That decline is blamed on grassland losses and recent harsh winters.