Businesses not worried about new hunting rules

Local hunting license retailers don't expect new rules to hurt business this fall.

Under the Division of Wildlife's new license structure, bull elk tags are not offered over-the-counter for fourth season and there is a four-day break between third and fourth season.

Fourth-season bull tags lef over after the DOW draw will be available for sale over the counter.

Hunters can still purchase over-the-counter elk tags for second and third season.

Jim Simos, owner of Cashway Distributors in Craig, said the new season structure will mean diminished sales for his store on Ranney Street, but the store will adjust to the new structure.

"We'll get the same amount of hunters, we just won't sell as many (licenses)," Simos said.

Cashway is one of eight retailers in Craig that serve as sales agents for DOW licenses. DOW offices also sell licenses.

Last year, Cashway led the state in gross sales from hunting licenses.

Fourth-season sales aren't usually different from second or third because they're all busy at Cashway, Simos said.

Simos said his store will weather the diminished sales in fourth season without too much difficulty.

"It's just a fact of life," he said.

Retailers who don't sell as many licenses as Cashway don't expect the changes to have much of an effect, either.

Sandy Chamberlain, bookkeeper at Fredrickson Contracting, said the changes won't affect Fredrickson because they don't sell nearly as many over-the-counter licenses as Cashway.

David Hutton, former owner of Craig Sports on Victory Way, said the new licensing rules won't have a major effect as long as hunters know about them.

Hunters who still think they can buy an over-the-counter tag for fourth season will be disappointed, Hutton said.

The changes, Hutton said, will result in more hunters during other seasons.

"This will throw more people into second and third season," he said.

DOW spokesman Randy Hampton said the average hunter won't notice much of a difference this year because the odds of purchasing a leftover tag for fourth season over-the-counter are pretty good.

Hampton also said hunters won't notice because third season falls on the same weekend as fourth season did last year.

Hunters who hunted fourth season last year can buy an over-the-counter license and hunt the same weekend this year, he said.

Hampton said hunters won't notice the new rules for a few years because the herds around Craig are currently bigger than the DOW would like. When the herds shrink and get closer to the DOW's preferred size, there will be fewer tags offered, meaning fewer leftover tags for sale.

"The first place they'll see the impact is over-the-counter sales," Hampton said.

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