Fee hike, poor weather slow run-up to season
LANSING, Mich. (AP) – The cost of hunting deer in Michigan may keep some people out of the woods.
Marking the lowest number in six years, the state sold 1.01 million licenses from March through Sunday, The Detroit News reported Thursday. The traditional two-week firearm season starts Saturday.
Besides the cost of hunting, there’s also up to 3 feet of snow in parts of the Upper Peninsula, not ideal conditions to get access to favorite spots.
“We’ve never had this kind of snowfall in the southern Upper Peninsula at this time of year,” said Dan Kirschner, owner of Wild Spirit Guide Service.
A hunter from another state will typically pay $171, a 24 percent increase. For adult residents, the state is charging $11 for a new base license, on top of $20 to get a deer.
“We’ve had people walk away from the counter when they realize what the cost is this year,” said Matt Poet, marketing director at Jay’s Sporting Goods in Clare, adding that license sales are “extremely down.”
Pat Ison of Toledo, Ohio, returned equipment to a Cabela’s store in Dundee.
“I was going to go up for a one-day hunt with my dad, but I couldn’t justify the $180 to do it,” he said. “I basically told the DNR they can forget it. I’ll hunt in Ohio.”
The Department of Natural Resources figured that a Saturday start to the season, which begins each year on Nov. 15, would be appealing to people who can’t get out during the work week.
“That usually leads to higher participation,” said Debbie Munson Badini, a DNR spokeswoman.
Tim Hurley, 50, of South Lyon said he’ll be hunting with his 17-year-old son.
“I didn’t have this hunting experience with my own father. I just went after small game with my brother and friends,” Hurley said. “It’s been a great experience – the father-son aspect and just being out in the woods in the fall. There’s nothing better.”