Clerk of Courts to discontinue sale of hunting licenses

Published 11:41 am Monday, November 26, 2012

COURTLAND—Beginning Jan. 1, the Southampton County Clerk of Courts will no longer sell hunting licenses from its Courtland office.

Clerk of Courts Rick Francis said he no does not want to compete with local businesses for hunting license sales.

“When the clerk’s office sells a hunting license, none of the money stays local; it all goes to Richmond,” Francis said. “However, if the local hardware store sells the hunting license, they keep $1, but more importantly, they get a customer in their store who may purchase some other items while there.”

Mary Ann Hancock, manager for the sporting goods department at Dails Home Center in Franklin, likes Francis’ decision. Almost every time someone buys one of 3,000 hunting and fishing licenses annually, they make another purchase from the Armory Drive store, Hancock said.

“They buy bait or shotgun shells in the fall, or a squirrel call,” she said. “It brings people in.”

Bob Edwards, owner of Edwards Hardware in Courtland, said he gets 25 cents for each of the 300 licenses he sells annually.

“It’s more of a service than a moneymaker,” Edwards said.

More than 50 percent of the time, anyone who buys a license, buys something else, he said.

“Anything that drives customers into the store is a great idea for me,” Edwards said.

Francis, who has sold 30 to 40 hunting licenses this year, also will discontinue sales due to manpower — a full-time employee in his office will go to part time next year.

He noted that his office has 815 services it must provide; selling hunting licenses and Passports are the only things he does that are not mandatory. The office will continue to sell Passports.

“We are the only folks (who sell Passports) between Emporia and Suffolk, so we’re going to hold onto that for as long as we can,” he said.