FRANKFORT, Ky. (5/3/13) – The Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources sold more than $7 million worth of hunting and fishing licenses in April - an all-time record for the month.
"People realize that hunting and fishing are great ways to spend a beautiful spring day with their families," said Kentucky Fish and Wildlife Commissioner Jon Gassett, Ph.D. "This record month shows our hard work to improve opportunities for the public is paying dividends."
Kentucky Fish and Wildlife Budget Director Scott King said the April sales were encouraging news. "We broke the previous record for the month of April by $140,000," he said. "It's also $800,000 more than our average for April. This is much needed revenue for an agency that's driven by its license sales."
The department in recent years has aggressively pursued both convenience and opportunities for its customers.
A mobile app unveiled by the department last year allows anglers to use their GPS-enabled smart phones to find the nearest place to fish. Hunters can use their smart phones to buy a permit, check their deer or find season dates for all game.
The department's Internet site, which includes a wide range of information about outdoor opportunities in Kentucky, received 17 million hits last year. Kentucky Fish and Wildlife's Facebook site, launched in 2009, now has more than 44,000 followers.
The department's Fishing in Neighborhoods (FINs) program now stocks fish in 39 community lakes across the state. FINs Coordinator Dane Balsman said the program has generated huge interest among anglers.
"We tried to get on a FINs lake today to do some sampling in our boat, but we couldn't get in the water because there were too many people fishing," he said. "There were just people lined up from bank to bank. We'll probably have to wait until it rains and the crowd thins out before we can launch a boat."
In the past few years, the department has established a marketing division to help spread the word about Kentucky's many opportunities: From its 10,000-strong elk herd to generous fish stocking programs to its top five status for trophy deer.
The excitement is catching: The department received more than 61,000 applications by the April 30 deadline for its 2013 elk hunts. "Marketing is most effective when you've got an outstanding product to sell," said Marketing Director Brian Blank. "That's what we have in Kentucky. The good old days - if you're a hunter or an angler - are now in Kentucky."
Information provided by Seth Stewart
Photo provided by SurfKY Graphics
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