Interest in hunting, fishing licenses remain high

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The pandemic has forced people to rethink how they would protect their health and well-being in 2021, and one of the ways they did so was to retreat outside.

Michigan hunting and fishing license sales have surged in the past two years, according to the Michigan Department of Natural Resources (DNR).

From Jan. 1 to Nov. 30, 2021, 641,588 Michiganders purchased hunting licenses and 1.13 million fishing licenses purchased. Hunting licenses covered a variety of species, including duck, deer and turkey licenses.

Hunting and fishing license purchases were actually down 3.4% and 2.6%, respectively, from 2020, but license sales in 2021 remained higher than sales in 2019. License sales first-time hunting and fishing rates also decreased from 2020 but were higher than 2019.

Hunting license sales increased 1.6% from the 631,138 licenses purchased in 2019 and fishing license sales increased 5.9% from the 1.07 million licenses purchased in 2019. It There were also 68,250 first-time hunting licenses purchased. This represents a 5.3% increase from 2019, and 271,883 first-time fishing license purchases increased 8.2% from 2019.

The high number of sales of fishing and hunting licenses has been fueled by an increase in purchases from hunters and fishers aged 65 and over, women and foreign tourists.

Hunters and anglers 65 and over purchased 107,107 hunting licenses and 204,726 fishing licenses in 2021.

Hunting license purchases among seniors increased 4.4% from 2020 and 8.5% from 2019. Purchases of fishing licenses increased 12.2% from 2020 and by 10.2% compared to 2019.

The increased interest in hunting and fishing coincides with the coronavirus pandemic.

Nick Buggia. Courtesy of Michigan Wildlife Council

“I think people were looking for opportunities to distance themselves socially, but still to go out and do something, and I think the outdoors provided the opportunity to continue to socialize with family and friends but in an environment safe, “said Nick Buggia, president of the Michigan Wildlife Council.

“There is still a significant increase in the number of people 65 and over participating in hunting and fishing. I think it was a way for them to spend time with their children and grandchildren. Those who were still working did not have the usual daily commutes. They had a little more free time. They weren’t going to restaurants or the movies, so they had some extra money and they spent it on equipment and things for the outdoors.

There were 68,253 purchases of hunting licenses held by women in 2021, which represents an increase of 6.7% from 2019, and 244,347 purchases of fishing licenses held by women in 2021. This represents an increase of 11.4% compared to 2019.

“There is more general acceptance of being more inclusive in the outdoor community and of trying to attract new people and share the love of the outdoors” Buggia said. “I also think that, especially for women, it’s a way to offer healthy and organic food pickled. I think that’s part of the reason we’ve seen a big increase. It is a desire to know where your food comes from. But there are a lot of single moms here now and we’ll often hear anecdotal stories about their kids wanting to go hunting and maybe they want to take their son or daughter out hunting, and to do so, they have to go hunting in order to help their children.

Out-of-state visitors bought 32,334 hunting licenses and approximately 215,700 fishing licenses in 2021. Hunting licenses purchased by visitors increased 10.3% from 2020 and 21.6% from 2019. License purchases from fishing within this same group increased by 11.4% from 2020 and 11.7% from 2019.

Buggia attributes the increase in out-of-state visitors to the large amount of Crown land available for hunting and the variety of species found in the state. Some of the species available in Michigan include walleye, salmon, rainbow trout, and northern pike. Some of the popular animals include ducks, deer, turkeys, rabbits, squirrels, and elks.

“The good thing about Michigan is that state land is spread across the state, so no matter where you live, there is an opportunity,” Buggia said. “Traditionally, people have tended to go north, to the northern part of the Lower Peninsula or the Upper Peninsula to do a lot of hunting. There are opportunities outside of Grand Rapids. The Allegan State Hunting Area, which is one of the largest public lands, is not only great for recreation, but also offers good hunting and fishing opportunities.

The increase in hunting and fishing license purchases created a positive economic impact at a time when much of the country was closed and is now trying to bounce back economically.

Hunting and fishing have a combined economic impact of $ 11.2 billion in Michigan and provide an estimated 171,000 jobs per year, according to a 2019 to study published by Michigan United Conservation Clubs in partnership with Michigan State University.

Buggia said hunters and fishermen support the economy by buying the equipment they need and also buying gasoline to put in their boats and vehicles, paying hotels to stay and buying meals.

“It has a pretty big impact on the overall economy and supports employment statewide,” he said. “Michigan has a few factories that produce things like bows and ammunition and things like that, but it’s more than outdoor gear. A lot of people can travel up north to go hunting and they stay in a hotel, they go out to eat a few times a week, so this supports local economies in some destinations where certain times of the year these cities see a strong increase in tourism dollars.

As hunting and fishing license purchases have increased, efforts are being made to maintain balanced animal populations and protect Michigan’s waters from habitat degradation and invasive species, as well as to protect forests. state to provide habitat for thousands of wildlife and reduce risk. forest fires and floods.

Licenses purchased by hunters and anglers generated approximately $ 65.5 million for the Michigan Game and Fish Protection Fund in 2020. The fund is MNR’s largest source of revenue and is essential to its work. conservation. The sale of hunting and fishing equipment raised an additional $ 29.4 million to support wildlife and natural resource management.

“Hunting and fishing are really a management tool”, Buggia said. ” That’s what it’s about. It’s not just about going out there and harvesting an animal. This is to ensure that populations are at sustainable levels. If we have way too many deer it can spread disease and there can be an increase in deer and car accidents and things like that. There is a lot of time and science to figure out what a sustainable population is, and it’s not just for deer and turkeys, but things like sturgeon and butterflies as well.

“So not only is hunting and fishing a tool to make sure the population stays at the right amount, because you can increase or decrease the amount harvested so that it can change from year to year, but the Hunting money and fishing licenses are the main source of conservation funding not only in the state but across the country. “


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