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Number of out-of-state hunters coming to Michigan is up; number of Michigan hunters continues drop

Lester Graham
Fewer Michigan residents are hunting, but more out-of-state hunters are visiting.

Nonresident hunting licenses bought up to this point in the year are nearly 4% higher than during the same period last year in Michigan. That’s significant, because out-of-state hunters pay a lot more for a hunting license.

“What it means for the state is, is more revenue coming in to help fund conservation of both game and non-game species,” said Nick Buggia, chair of the Michigan Wildlife Council.

Michigan Wildlife Council
Nick Buggia is the Chair of the Michigan Wildlife Council.

According to data from the Department of Natural Resources, in 2021 licenses purchased by hunters and anglers generated more than $65.5 million for the Michigan Game and Fish Protection Fund. That’s the DNR’s largest revenue source.

Buggia added hunters and anglers go on to spend even more.

“Not only is there the revenue generated from licensing sales, which goes towards conservation, but just the amount of hotel rooms and gas and food and all the extras that hunters and anglers spend on these activities.”

A Michigan State University study commissioned by the Michigan United Conservation Clubs found hunting, fishing, and trapping contribute $11.2 billion to the economy each year based on 2016 data.

But, since 1996 the number of hunters and anglers from Michigan has been falling almost every year. 2020 was one of the notable exceptions because the pandemic gave people more free time and a lot of them went hunting or fishing. Still the number of Michigan hunters has decreased by 250,000 since 1996.

This year the number of fishing licenses bought was down 3.4% from the same time last year. Hunting license purchases were down a little at 0.66% according to data released by the DNR.

Lester Graham reports for The Environment Report. He has reported on public policy, politics, and issues regarding race and gender inequity. He was previously with The Environment Report at Michigan Radio from 1998-2010.
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