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Hunting continues to drive economic impact in Michigan


LANSING, Mich. – Hunting remains a vibrant annual tradition in Michigan, with generations across the state and beyond preparing for Opening Day on Tuesday, November 15. Along with that rich heritage comes a significant impact on Michigan’s economy.

This year, more than 525,000 hunters are expected to participate in the annual firearms season for deer, which accounts for the largest economic impact of hunting in the state. The DNR estimates more than 90 percent of Michigan hunters will pursue deer this year, with hunters spending an average of 7 days afield during the firearm season. In Michigan, 60 percent of hunters hunt only deer making the upcoming firearm season especially critical for the economy.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service estimates hunting in Michigan generates more than $2.3 billion in economic impact in the state, including expenses related to food and lodging and $1.3 billion spent on equipment.

“Hunting provides the perfect opportunity to get out and experience Michigan’s vast natural resources while contributing to the tremendous quality of life found here in our state,” said Michigan Economic Development Corporation CEO Steve Arwood. “We know hunting drives travel to Michigan as well as within the state, and that travel in turn generates economic impact for communities and businesses across Michigan.”

In addition to the overall economic impact of hunting provided by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, in 2015 leisure travel spending on hunting reached an estimated $123.8 million, up from $85 million in 2014, according to data from D.K. Shifflet. Hunting and fishing leisure travel spending came in at a combined $340 million in 2015.

“Deer hunting is one of Michigan’s most important outdoors traditions,” said Michigan Department of Natural Resources Director Keith Creagh. “We encourage hunters across the state to enjoy some treasured time with family and friends, support local economies and have a safe and fun time in the woods.”

A marketing partnership between Pure Michigan and the DNR is running a hunting-specific campaign to highlight the experience of the hunt in Michigan. The largely digital campaign has been running since August and has targeted younger sportsmen and sportswomen in addition to individuals whose interests, such as fishing and camping, may intersect with hunting. The goal of the campaign is to drive license sales and also continue to grow the number of hunters in the state. The campaign includes partnerships with Michigan Out of Doors, Outdoor Sportsman Group and OutdoorHub.com as well as a paid social media campaign.

In addition to in-state hunters, the campaign reaches hunters in neighboring states including Ohio, Indiana, Illinois and Wisconsin. In 2015, more than 75 percent of the page views on the Pure Michigan landing page on OutdoorHub.com came from outside the state of Michigan, up from 62 percent in 2014. This landing page, with original content and videos as well as key information on hunting and fishing in Michigan, continues to be a central component of Pure Michigan’s hunting and fishing marketing efforts.

“Hunting, as well as fishing, are prime examples of activities that people are passionate about and travel to take part in,” said Dave Lorenz, Vice President of Travel Michigan, part of the MEDC. “Our campaign reminds people about the thrill of the hunt found in our state, and is reaching a younger audience to ensure these traditions continue for years to come.”

Michigan continues to be one of the top states in the nation for paid-hunting license holders and last year, there were 63,900 new customers for all hunting licenses combined. Both hunter satisfaction and hunter success rates increased from 2014 to 2015, according to the DNR.

Pure Michigan is a brand representing business, talent and tourism initiatives across Michigan. These efforts are driven by the Michigan Economic Development Corporation, which serves as the state’s marketing arm and lead advocate for business growth, jobs and opportunity with a focus on helping grow Michigan’s economy.

For more on the MEDC and its initiatives, visit michiganbusiness.org. For Michigan travel news, updates and information, visit michigan.org.

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Opening Day at Solon Market June 7

School’s out and Mom’s already frazzled. The kids have already started their, “I’m bored!” blues.  What to do?  Head on over to Solon Market for a fun-filled summer! The Market kicks off Opening Day Saturday, June 7, with give-aways and a petting zoo, free samples and plenty of seasonal produce as well as crafts, baked goods and flea market items.  Browse the open-air market and visit with your friends, neighbors and family.

Solon Market is bringing back many favorites such as Christmas (in July this year), Fire Fighter Days and the popular Dog Daze Pet Expo. For a complete calendar of events, check out their facebook page at Solon Market or call 696-4227.

Solon Market is a free market charging nothing to vendors for set-up. Located at 15185 Algoma Ave. behind Solon Township Offices in and near the picturesque barn once owned by the Stout Family. It is family-oriented and kid friendly.  Market hours are every Saturday through October from 8 a.m. until 1 p.m.  Come and join the fun!


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Opening day of gun season


by Jack Payne

The countdown has started towards the opening day of gun season for deer. This season I am a bit more pumped up than normal. While archery season did produce a decent buck for me, the rut has not hit high gear like anticipated. Hopefully that changes next week.

Success during gun season encompasses a few additional items of consideration as compared to the archery season. Hunting pressure will greatly increase, some favorite food sources are gone and yes, the rut will factor in.

Our group success rate is way above that of the state. This can be attributed to the location. Location, much like in real estate dictates travel patterns, bedding areas and of prime concern, safety locations.

A nice buck will hole up in any type of cover that offers protection. In southern Michigan a one acre cattail swale, a small impenetrable thicket, a small group or trees out in the middle of a field, a deep ditch line with tall grass or a dense stand of pines can hide a deer.

Water is a great safety net. My favorite location has lots of water. On the worst years I needed hip boots to get into the small dry island. Most years knee high boots will work.

What a deer really wants is a location that they can either see danger coming to them or hear danger approaching. With water they can hear noise well before danger can reach them. A spot out in the open they can use their eyes and nose. A thick briar patch or a thick stand of pines they can hear and smell danger approaching.

Locating a likely spot that offers protection is the first step. Figuring out how to get there and how to hunt it is two other items of concern. Get there early is the first step. Try and get into your sweet spot well before daylight. You want to be seated before other hunters start pushing deer towards your cover.

Prune out a few lanes to shoot through. You need to see and determine if a tree is best or the ground. I sit on the ground. I listen, I wait and most often I see a piece of a deer long before I see a full deer. Then wait, wait for the deer to move into a lane.

Another consideration that we use is the location of other hunters. Where will the other hunter be? How will they get into and out of their spot. Let other hunters work to your advantage. Most hunters hunt 2-3 hours and then take a break.

You should plan on sitting from dark to dark. Carry in your lunch, extra cloths and possibly a book. I can’t read but my son does and he shoots nice bucks. Other hunters will spook deer walking in and out. Deer will run and hide anywhere and once it calms down return to their best security areas where hopefully you are sitting.

In the UP, where I will be for the opener, our best spot is huge. It covers hundreds of acres so we hunt tight to the cover, in a transition area, and catch the deer entering or leaving the sanctuary. We know where every other hunter sits; we know the location of the best available food source and the most likely direction that the deer will travel.

And then we sit. Some years we will see 2-3 bucks, some years only one. It only takes one to complete your hunt except when targeting a large rack. We have multiple stands in the same general area to contend with shifting wind patterns and the change from morning and evening travels.

When we hunt at home, in southern Michigan, we normally have one stand location for the entire day. We wait for the deer to arrive or leave. We shot a deer that we watched bed down that took hours before a shoot was available.

With the rut running later than expected, you will see bucks still on the roam. If pressured, they still will rut but under the security of thick cover, isolated pockets overlooked or under darkness.

My son shot his best buck to date late during the gun season, just before dark, as it left one small thicket and was heading into the next thicket only 50 yards away. His nose was to the ground and grunting when shot.

Patience, hunting spots where others will not travel, considering the effects of hunting pressure and deer travel routes, will place deer into your sight path. Security cover and access are the two primary areas of concern followed by patience. Good luck during the gun season.

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Opening day buck


On opening day of bow season, October 1, 2013, Scott Cain got this fine 8-point buck. Scott went out in the morning and saw nothing. He went out in the afternoon, got in his tree, and at about 4:30 p.m. the buck appeared! Way to go, Scott!


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Ten-year-old gets deer

Trey Lewis, 10, the son of Jake and Amy Lewis, of Solon Township, went hunting on opening day evening on his family’s property, near 22 Mile and Trenton, with his Uncle Bill Woudwyk, and got this 8-point buck his first time out.
Congratulations, Trey!

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