A day that many Michiganders look forward to — Nov. 15. While there are no doubts hunters and outdoor enthusiasts are excited about getting out early Sunday to see if they can bag that trophy buck, the lead up the opening of firearm deer season also has been an exciting time for retailers.
During this time of year, gas stations, sporting good retailers, hotels, and countless other businesses are impacted by the more than 500,000 hunters who are expected to be afield trying to put their sights on a white-tailed deer.
In 2019, Michigan United Conservation Clubs showed Michigan ranks first among the Great Lakes states for jobs created from hunting- and fishing-related purchases – and generates more than $11.2 billion annually. The MUCC report was authored by Professor of Business Dr. Roger Calantone, Demmer Legacy Professor Dr. Shawnee K. Vickery, and Dr. Joyce Wang, all within MSU’s Eli Broad College of Business.
In the North Central region of the state, which includes Emmet, Cheboygan, Charlevoix, Antrim, Otsego, Montmorency, Kalkaska, Crawford, Oscoda, Wexford, Missaukee, Roscommon, Ogemaw, Lake, Osceola, Clare, and Gladwin counties, hunting and fishing generate roughly $960 million annually, according to the data from the MUCC's 2019 report.
Hunting and fishing licenses generate about $62 million a year for wildlife and natural resources conservation projects in Michigan, with more than $40 million coming from hunting license sales. By law, that money is entirely dedicated to wildlife management and conservation activities.
Michigan is one of the top states in the nation for hunting license purchases.
In comparison with all states in the U.S., Michigan ranks 11th in terms of job creation resulting from hunting and fishing expenditures by residents and 15th nationally concerning job creation arising from hunting and fishing expenditures by out-of-state residents, MSU researchers found.
With the sale of deer licenses likely going to be up this year by 12% when compared to last year's totals, it shouldn't be a surprise that the economic impact should be more than the $11.2 billion that the MUCC's report showed.
Recently, the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis released new data showing the economic impact of outdoor recreation. BEA found outdoor recreation contributed to the economies of all 50 states and accounted for 2.1% ($459.8 billion) of current-dollar gross domestic product and $788 billion in gross output (consumer spending) in 2019 — a $10 billion consumer spending increase from 2017. The data also show an increase in outdoor recreation employment and compensation.
In Michigan, BEA found that outdoor recreation in 2019 contributed $10.1 billion to our economy, created 123k jobs, and $4.7 billion in wages. Given the rise in outdoor participation during COVID-19, it is likely these figures will be even higher for 2020.
BEA launched its outdoor recreation economy project in 2017 to “deepen the public’s understanding of the economic impact of outdoor recreation, inform decision making, and improve governance and long-term management of public lands and waters.‘ In 2019, the agency announced it would also start sharing prototype statistics on state-level data.
The BEA’s data joins long-standing work from the Outdoor Industry Association’s compilation of key national and statewide data informing on the economic impact of outdoor recreation. Heart of the Lakes has used this data to educate opinion leaders on the impact of Michigan's outdoor economy, influence the creation of Michigan's Office of Outdoor Recreation Industry, and formalize a nascent coalition of Michigan’s outdoor businesses and conservation nonprofits.
The Michigan Wildlife Council and Crain’s Detroit Business also recently gathered a virtual roundtable of business, tourism, legislative, natural resource, and nonprofit leaders to discuss the many ways hunting and fishing benefit the Great Lakes State.
During the discussion, the increase in license purchases was discussed, but an increase in purchases by a certain demographic has many encouraged that this bump in purchases could be sustainable.
The roundtable discussion and in particular comments made by Shannon Lott, DNR deputy director, indicated there is a significant increase in licenses among 17- to 24-year-olds. Younger people getting outdoors and enjoying Michigan’s vast natural resources are integral to building public support around those resources for future generations, Lott said.
On top of that, young people ages 10 to 16 saw a 144% increase in license sales across all hunting species, jumping by mid-October to 22,624 licensed hunters from 9,284 last year. Also, the number of female hunters has increased by nearly 25% – from 35,619 to 44,425.