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Happy November 15th – The Economic Impact of Hunting
Can you name the special day each November that is a school holiday in many districts, and requires a brief recess for the Michigan State legislature? No, it has nothing to do with bad Lions football or turkey dinners. The day is of course November 15th, opening day of Michigan’s deer season. Although, its popularity is not what it once was, only 6.7% of the population buys a hunting license, the day should still be celebrated for the conservation and economic impact hunting and fishing has on the state.
Over 171,000 jobs, and $11.8 billion dollars in hunting and fishing related purchases are created annually in Michigan making it the highest in the Great Lakes region.
Hunting and fishing licenses account for close to $100 million in revenues with those fees going to Michigan’s Department of Natural Resources (DNR). The department runs the State Parks, trails, and protects the state’s forests, fish, and wildlife areas enjoyed by over 35 million people each year. Funding of an almost equal amount to the DNR comes from taxes on firearms and ammunition from target shooters though the Pittman – Robertson Act (1937), along with the Dingell-Johnson Act which has been taxing fishing equipment, boats, and motors since 1950.
The hunting and fishing community by far leads the funding of all the conservation efforts in the United States. However, the community’s population is declining and is expected to only be half of its 1998 peak numbers by 2035. This is of great concern and strategic efforts are being made to determine how best to fund our natural resources in the future.
Michigan is not the only state facing this issue. Therefore, the U. S. Congress created the bipartisan Recovering American’s Wildlife Act which would have placed $1.3 billion annually into managing wildlife throughout the nation with Michigan receiving approximately $27 million. Unfortunately, this bill has been highjacked by partisans and now stands little chance of passing. Perhaps fees could be levied or increased on activities such as birdwatching, camping, hiking, kayaking, or trail running which have all seen double digit increases in participation over the past few years.
But, if you are one of the still 600,000+ men and women waiting for a whitetail and enjoying a crisp late fall sunrise or perhaps a quiet blanket of snow settling on one of Michigan’s state forests, take a bow for funding the protection of over 8.2 million acres of Federal and State public land which represent 20 percent of the state’s overall landmass.
Yet, for the State of Michigan the bigger concern may be how to replace impact on the other $11.6 billion on its economy should this community falter. According to a survey by Michigan State University and the Michigan United Conservation Clubs, for every dollar spent on hunting and fishing (trip related food, lodging, fuel, equipment, licenses, etc.) $1.24 is generated across all industries in Michigan. Also, for every million dollars spent on hunting and fishing there are 19.617 jobs created across all industries throughout the state. Given the expected decline in people participating in these forms of recreation, it will be important for the industries most impacted to initiate best practices for their businesses, and even diversify to remain profitable.
Preserving the state’s resources is important, and in the hope stated by Michigan Out of Doors T.V. “someday our children all will see, this is our finest legacy, the wonder and the love of Michigan”. Today we have a well-managed and growing wildlife population that even provides a sustainable organic food source to those who wish to participate. So, let’s celebrate that crisp day in November that helps everyone enjoy outdoor activities all year long here in Michigan.
“2022 Outdoor participation trends report” Outdoor Foundation
“2022 Special Report on Fishing” Outdoor Foundation, and Recreational Boating and Fishing Foundation
“2022 Special Report on Hunting and the Shooting Sports” Outdoor Foundation, Wildlife and Sport Fish Restoration, and Council to Advance Hunting and the Shooting Sports.
“2020—Michigan: Outdoor Recreation Satellite Account (ORSA)” Bureau of Economic Analysis, U.S. Department of Commerce
“DNR Funding” https://www.michigan.gov/dnr/about/funding
“ECONOMIC IMPACT OF HUNTING, FISHING, AND TRAPPING (HF&T) IN MICHIGAN”, Michigan United Conservation Clubs, 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. http://www.michiganoutofdoors.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/01/MUCC_Report_Corrected.pdf