MARQUETTE - With the calendar first week of November ended, hunters are definitely getting ready for the upcoming firearm deer season.
That's great news for area businesses which traditionally gain a great deal of incoming business during the two-week holiday that disrupts everything from school schedules to the timing of court hearings across the region.
Not only do hunters spend a great deal of money on firearms and ammunition, there's clothing, footware, bait, food and other items. In addition, a good deal of money flows into the local economy in restaurant, bar, gasoline and grocery store sales.
Derek Nakamura of Marquette, left, waits in line as Amanda Marek of Gander Mountain helps him get a firearm deer season license at Gander Mountain in Marquette. (Journal file photo)
Michigan Department of Natural Resources and Environment statistics show a great deal of positive economic impacts from not only hunting, but other outdoor activities surround the state's natural resources.
DNRE officials said Michigan ranks third in the nation in licensed hunters (more than 750,000) who contribute $1 billion annually to our economy.
In addition, more than 3.2 million people, age 16 and older, participate in wildlife viewing activities, adding $2.7 billion to the economy.
Michigan ranks fifth in the nation in numbers of licensed resident and non-resident anglers who contribute $2 billion annually to our economy.
Michigan ranks first in the nation in the number of registered snowmobiles and 3rd in the number of registered boats; recreational boating contributes $2 billion annually to our economy and when there is an abundance of snow, snowmobilers create a $1 billion bonanza for northern Michigan communities, according to the DNRE.
With 22 million visitors annually, state parks and recreation areas play an important role in Michigan's tourism industry, contributing $580 million to the state's economy.
Michigan's nearly one million registered boaters spend $873 million on trips during the relatively short boating season.
The DNRE manages the largest dedicated state forest system in the nation. Forest products industry and recreational users contribute $12 billion and 200,000 associated jobs annually to our economy.
While Michigan moves forward into exploration of new economic opportunities in the future, it's important to remember the great significance the role traditional recreation pursuits, like hunting, play in the role of the state's fortunes.
John Pepin can be reached at 906-228-2500, ext. 206. His e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org.