Fewer deer hunters could mean big hit to Michigan's economy

Deer hunting season is management tool

HOWELL, Mich. – Hunting generates more than $2 billion a year for Michigan's economy, but new numbers reveal it is becoming a lot less popular.

In 1995, Michigan's peak hunting season saw about 700,000 hunters in the woods. This year, it's 600,000, and the state projects by 2035, it will be under 400,000.

Hunter Larry Spangler, of Howell, has had his eyes on a 10-point buck, but he sees hunting's popularity fading.

"It's kind of a dying thing," he said.

The deer hunt is a management tool to keep the herd in check, so it's likely with fewer hunters, officials will change the rules to allow the remaining hunters to take more deer.

"It's sort of sad, because it's a great sport, and you know, that's the way it should be, hunting with your family," Spangler said.

A study released by Northern Michigan University indicates men born in the 1960s are the biggest hunting population, but they are getting close to retirement age, which is when many stop hunting.

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