Hunting Helps Boost Michigan Economy | Sports


GLADWIN – The regular gun deer season started off with a bang last Friday morning, literally. A few minutes after the legal shooting hours, I heard the first shot, and Sunday afternoon, I had spotted many does and a small buck. Even though I have failed so far, I still have hope.

Michigan has a strong hunting tradition, which also has a big impact on the economy. The Michigan United Conservation Clubs (MUCC) released a study earlier this year highlighting the importance of hunting and fishing in Michigan. The MUCC found that “Michigan ranks first among the Great Lakes states for jobs created through purchases related to hunting and fishing.” More than $ 11 billion is generated each year in Michigan.

The data also shows that 171,000 jobs are created and sustained across Michigan through activities related to hunting and fishing. That’s more than double what the US Fish and Wildlife Service previously estimated. Oddly enough, the biggest impact is being felt in Southeast Michigan.

This is good news for the outdoor community. Anti-hunting groups are increasingly bold in their attempts to ban hunting, often downplaying the positive aspects of the sport. The study was conducted in partnership with Michigan State University’s Eli Broad School of Business with financial support from the CS Mott Foundation with the aim of accurately quantifying the impact of athletes on Michigan’s economic well-being.

Amy Trotter, Executive Director of MUCC, said: “The research results reflect that the economic benefits to local communities in every region of the state by those who hunt and fish are critical to Michigan’s continued prosperity today. ‘hui and in the future. Hunting and fishing activities are among the 10 percent of the state’s job-creating industries.

Michigan has about 700,000 hunters and 1.1 million anglers. Hunting generates approximately $ 8.9 billion and fishing $ 2.3 billion. Many sectors of the economy are affected, from equipment and clothing purchases to food and shelter and more. For every million dollars spent, more than 19 jobs are created.

For the purpose of the study, Gladwin County was placed in the North Central region, which is the level of counties ranging from Gladwin, Clare, Osceola and Lake counties in the south to Emmet and Cheboygan in the north. It was determined that approximately $ 960 million in economic benefits were obtained through hunting and fishing activities.

Wildlife management and conservation activities in Michigan are greatly stimulated by sales of hunting and fishing licenses. By law, profits must be donated to support these activities. Hunting licenses bring in $ 62 million and fishing licenses $ 40 million per year. These license fees and surcharges on hunting and fishing equipment pay for most conservation work done in the state.

The decline in the number of hunters and fishermen in the state does not bode well for conservation efforts. A demographic study by Michigan Technological University shows that the number of deer permits sold has declined by 21% since 1988, from 785,000 to 621,000 in 2017. They predict that by 2035, the 1998 figure will be reduced. A half. Anyone using Crown land will be affected. Sportsmen pay the bills while other outdoor enthusiasts like hikers; cross-country skiers, bird watchers and others benefit.

Hunting is also the primary tool for managing the deer population in Michigan. Without hunting, the deer population would far exceed the carrying capacity of the ecosystem. Crop damage and accidents involving deer would increase alongside the incidence of diseases such as bovine tuberculosis and chronic wasting disease. Hunting is the main tool to combat these problems.

Bovine tuberculosis (BTB) is still a problem in Michigan, particularly in the northeastern counties of Alcona, Alpena, Montmorency, and Oscoda. Last April, a small rumor about beef cattle in Alpena County was the 74th to be identified since 1998. Prior to 1994, only eight white-tailed and wild mule deer had been identified with the disease. In 1994, an Alpena County hunter shot an infected buck, prompting examination of downed, road-killed and other dead deer.

The Michigan Department of Natural Resources (DNR) reports that BTB is spread primarily through the exchange of respiratory secretions. This usually happens when animals are in close contact, making animal density a key factor in its spread. It is possible for humans to contract tuberculosis (TB) from wild animals. The US Centers for Disease Control released a report in September this year warning hunters that a Michigan man had developed tuberculosis after dressing in the field and infecting deer.

Chronic wasting disease (CWD) is a contagious neurological disease that affects deer, elk and moose. It causes degeneration of the brain resulting in emaciation, abnormal behavior, loss of bodily functions and death. In some localities, infected deer are known to be “zombie deer”, due to their strange behavior.

A protein called a prion causes CWD. According to the DNR, it can be transmitted directly from animal to animal and through contact with saliva, urine, feces, blood, neurological tissue and even infected soil. Prions are extremely resistant in the environment and remain infectious for years. Since prions are not alive, they remain infectious after cooking and treatment with disinfectants.

No cases of chronic wasting disease have been reported in humans, but studies have shown that it can be transmitted to other animals, including primates. The Alliance for Public Wildlife estimates that between 7,000 and 15,000 infected animals are eaten each year. As infected meat is consumed, the likelihood of it passing to humans increases.

In an effort to control the spread of CWD, deer and elk bait has been banned in the Lower Peninsula and much of the Upper Peninsula. The Natural Resources Commission issued the ban in 2018. The ban has become a controversial issue, which will likely be repealed by the state legislature.

A more disturbing development may be related to the presence of per- and polyfluoroalkylated substances (PFAS) found at various locations in Michigan. In October 2018, the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) and MNR issued a “Do Not Eat” advisory for deer captured within five miles of Clark Marsh in Oscoda Township. .

The “do not eat” advisory was issued in response to elevated levels of PFOS (perfluorooctane sulfonic acid) found in a deer two miles from Clark’s Marsh in Oscoda Township. Clark’s Marsh lines the former Wurtsmith Air Force Base at Oscoda. PFO is a type of PFAS (per- and polyfluoroalkyl substance). PFAS were used in the fire fighting foam used at the base and the plume slowly spread into the groundwater.

Deer from other known contamination sites have been tested and so far none have returned with levels of PFAS and PFOS that require consumption guidelines. Since this is all relatively new, much more study will be needed.

I hunt on public land in the northwest corner of the Lower Peninsula where wood point restrictions require at least three points on one side. It is also in an area where most hunters do not bait. We usually see several big pennies, which do not become nocturnal after opening day. In my opinion, this makes for a better hunting experience.