Game wardens expect COVID-19 could produce a record hunting season

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Updated: Sep. 19, 2020 at 7:34 PM CDT
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TYLER, Texas (KLTV) - With the cancellation or postponement of numerous East Texas events, some may now be turning to something not canceled.

Game wardens believe this hunting season could be one of the busiest on record.

A Saturday hunters education class in Gregg county includes several new hunters.

A trend that could be going up because of COVID-19.

“With all of the COVID-19 measurements in place, people are wanting to social distance themselves and what better place that outdoors hunting and fishing. We’re expecting a larger number of folks in the woods,” says Gregg county game warden Todd Long.

East Texas sporting goods stores are seeing more people coming in for hunting ammunition, bows , crossbows and deer rifles.

“Sales are through the roof. Never seen anything like it. Guns, ammo, accessories, magazines, you name it. People are just going crazy,” says Logan Green of Ark-La-Tex guns & more in Gilmer.

In 2019, Texas had the highest number of registered firearms, more than 715-thousand, according to the ATF. And lots of first-timers.

“My daughter decided she wanted to come hunting with me. Ready to go hunting, always loved the outdoors,” said Byron Eldridge.

“I really don’t know why, it just seems fun and i want to do it,” says daughter Kaitlynn.

“We’ve had a bunch of people come in saying they’re ready for hunting season to start because everything insides closed and stuff like that,” Green says.

Gun sales in the Texas appear to already be setting record highs based on statistics from the FBI’s national instant criminal background check system. And game wardens are promoting safety above all.

“As game wardens we work hunting accidents, and we don’t want that to happen this year,” Long says.

According to U-S Fish & Wildlife, Texas resident hunting licenses, tags and permits for 2020 are estimated at over 1-million-6-hundred -50 thousand.

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