LANSING, MICH. – Michigan is experiencing its biggest peak in new hunters in at least two decades.
Hunting license sales for novice hunters have jumped 95% since March, echoing a national trend that has led more and more people to engage in outdoor recreation as a safe and socially distant option for the activity during the pandemic.
“We have seen a record increase in license sales that we haven’t seen in 20 years,” Shannon Lott, deputy director of the Michigan Department of Natural Resources, said in a statement. “This is definitely the year everyone wants to go out.”
The DNR reports that 440,780 people bought a hunting license until October 12. Over 64,000 of these buyers were novice hunters, 31,000 more new hunters than at the same time last year.
Women and young hunters are among the demographic groups driving this increase. Those aged 10 to 16 led to a 144% increase in license sales for all hunting species, while the number of female hunters increased by almost 25%.
Michiganders also bought 9% more fishing licenses this year, with the total number of new fishermen increasing by 42%, said Dustin Isenhoff, DNR marketing specialist.
These numbers stand in stark contrast to the downward trend in state and nationwide hunting license sales over the past decades, as baby boomers spend less time hunting and younger generations choose not to. not play this sport.
But this year, all types of outdoor recreation received a boost. Parks and trails across the state reported record numbers of visitors, as camping, hiking, birding and kayaking joined hunting and fishing on the list of activities benefiting from ‘a sudden increase in popularity.
The MNR and sports groups are excited about Michigan’s new interest in hunting and fishing and are considering ways to encourage participation in the years to come, Isenhoff said.
In Michigan, sales of hunting licenses generate an estimated $ 61 million per year for wildlife and natural resource conservation projects, with an additional $ 32 million coming from a federal tax on the sales of hunting equipment. and fishing, according to the Michigan Wildlife Council.
“This is great news for Michigan, as hunting participation here and nationally has declined in recent years,” said Nick Buggia, president of the Michigan Wildlife Council. “The more people who love Michigan’s great outdoors, the better for our entire state.