Opening Weekend Of Firearm Deer Season: The Silence Is Deafening

Saturday , 15, November 2014 24 Comments

Don’t blame the snow, that’s not the reason why so few people are up north hunting on the opening day of deer season – on a Saturday. Any hunter will tell you snow during hunting season is a good thing, because it makes it easier to see movement in the woods and track the deer you just shot. Red shows up better on white than it does on brown. Sure, they have lots of snow in the UP and that’s making it harder to get out and hunt, but what about the rest of the state? Why aren’t we hearing guns in the woods this weekend?

Northern Michigan relies on seasonal tourism to survive economically. One of the biggest tourism seasons after the summer is firearm deer season. The last two weeks of November traditionally means people take vacation time to come up north and hunt whitetail deer. Not only do sporting goods stores, such as Jay’s in Clare rely on deer hunting season for sales, but many other shops, hotels, and restaurants look forward to the extra business.

This year, despite November 15 being on a Saturday, which would allow more people to participate in the hunting season, deer license sales are way down. The reason? Rick Snyder back in 2013 proposed raising fees on hunting and fishing licenses, claiming it would generate more revenue for the DNR. That proposal thanks to the Nerd and Republicans became law, and now a $15.00 firearm deer season license for an antlered deer became $31.00. Want a doe permit too? It costs $5.00 to enter your name in the lottery that runs from July 15 to August 15. If your name is chosen, congratulations, your doe permit is $20.00, adding to the total for the privilege of hunting in Michigan a whopping $56.00.

And that’s the cost for Michigan residents to go hunting. Out of state license fees cost $171.00 for hunters to come to Michigan and hunt. A huge rise that made hunting in Michigan too expensive for some out of state hunters. They stayed home, and that means their money stayed home too. Money that would have been used to pay rent, buy gas and food, supplies for deer camp and everything else hunters spend money on when they come up north to go deer hunting.

The hike in fees also makes it too difficult for folks who live in Northern Michigan to hunt. Often, venison is a reliable and cheap source of meat for poor families struggling with lower wages, fewer jobs and cuts to everything else. Now it’s too expensive to legally hunt for deer for many people.

The higher fees mean people are buying fewer licenses. Does this mean they’re not going to hunt? Poaching could be on the rise in Michigan as hunters frustrated with not being able to afford the cost of hunting legally, but rely on being able to hunt to feed themselves and their families may resort to hunting illegally.

Opening day on a Saturday in Michigan, and it’s way too quiet here.

24 thoughts on “ : Opening Weekend Of Firearm Deer Season: The Silence Is Deafening”
  • Lois says:

    Well, folks didn’t do their research to see just what the “Nerd” and his cronies were doing up in Lansing and went ahead and reelected them. If you think it’s bad now, just wait for the next four years!

  • Michael says:

    I have to ask for your proof of this? Add actual links showing the declines. As a hunter, and a majority of my friends are hunters, I have seen no drop in the number of people going north to hunt. I see what you have written, and agree higher fees are not fun, but where is your proof. Simply saying it does not prove it. What you are saying on this blog of yours does not reflect the crowds of hunters I just witnessed up north. It does not reflect the empty shelves at our local gas station / supply store. So I called friends who hunt in other areas. They are saying the same as I personally witnessed. I got mine already, now sitting and waiting for my friends to either get theirs or for the weekend to end and we have to head home.

    • Sherry says: , “This is the first year of major price changes with the DNR.

      All hunters need to buy a base license before buying reduced price licenses.

      At Jay’s, they have had people walk away from the counter, refusing to pay the new price.”

    • Dave says:

      So you have your proof, less licenses sold and people indicating the fees are too high for fishing, which I am sure also applies to hunting. Dont let the facts get in the way of your love for Snyder.
      Its the Snyder way, indirect taxes, cutting monies from public schools, changes to labor law and workers compensation law (all changes in favor of insurance companies and companies, which push more people onto medicaid and medicare) changes to consumer protection laws ( making MI’s the weakest in the country) giving tax incentives and tax breaks to many industries (while eliminating the much needed movie industry incentives, because he is afraid of liberal hollywood money), I guess he has no problem picking winners and losers.
      In this case the loser is the Tourism industry, less hunters and less fisherman, spending less money up north.

      • Michael says:

        No Dave, I do not have proof. There still is nothing showing the actual numbers. I can say “There were 10x the amount of licenses sold” does that make it so? No.

        Why is it that anyone who refuses to drink the Koolaid is automatically in “LOVE” with Snyder? Why is it when I disagree with him you all are right there patting my back and giving atta boys? You are hypocrites. I am allowed to have differing opinions, doesn’t mean I am automatically for or against anyone. However you certainly make it hard to be on your side. You are willing to gut anyone who does fall into your line.

        My reasoning for my post is this….If you don’t back what you say with proof, you leave the door open for someone to say you are lying to make others look bad. I know this. I was out this past weekend and saw no decline in the amount of people hunting. Which is why I had to ask. Don’t let this blog be dragged to the depths of so many others. One false step and you lose all credibility.

        And stop attacking anyone who isn’t 1,000% ani-Republican/Snyder/Money. You only turn away independents like myself.

  • Crandall Marsh says:

    Here is the proof: “The state sold 1,015,073 deer licenses between March 1 and Sunday — the lowest number in the past six years during the same period, according to the DNR. Only once in that eight-month period — in 2011, when the state sold 1,033,419 — has the number dipped below the 1,050,000 mark.”

  • Rick the dick and his cronies don’t hunt – they just open Charter schools and get free tax money.

  • The increased cost of a fishing license kept this out of stater from buying a fishing license in 2014. I bought a fishing license almost every year for the past 15 years, but not this year; it’s too expensive!

  • Snyder Sucks says:

    I didn’t buy a fishing license either this year because of the increase.

  • jan says:

    That’s chump change and add to that the lower price per gallon for gasoline and it makes the cost to hunt this year even less.

    The real reason is that less and less people are hunting because they choose not to for a variety of reasons. I believe less people are hunting because it is increasingly harder and harder to get time off from work (not all have Sat/Sun off), too dangerous to be in the woods, and less people enjoy the taste of venison.

    I would think that those who do hunt would love the fact that there is less competition for deer thus increasing their chance of shooting one.

    More and more people are shooting but they are shooting at targets at shooting ranges because it allows them to shoot when their schedule allows it and they do not have to drive miles and miles to do it.

    • Bex says:

      Might be “chump change” to you, but some people rely on hunting for meat because they are impoverished, and even a two-fold increase can hurt when your budget is already stretched incredibly thin.

    • Up North Progressive says:

      Tell the person who walked away from the counter at Jay’s Sporting Goods in Clare when they tried to buy a deer hunting license and found out instead of $15 it was going to be $31, and with a doe permit $56. Jay’s says when people heard how much the licenses would cost they just walked away.

      License purchases are way down. All stores selling deer hunting licenses say they sold fewer this year than last year.

  • TRACY NOVAK says:

    There’s no deer to be had in the western u.p. any way’s thank’s to the ding bat’s that put the wolve’s up here and the mountain lion’s and coyote’s eating them up very sad day when all the deer are gone in the u.p. of michigan.

    • Thomas says:

      Shut up – that is so full of bullshit – I love six months in the UP during winter. There are deer in the UP – you obiviously don’t live there.

  • Lester Morr says:

    I live close to a game preserve, and traditionally is sounds like a war zone on opening day.This year I heard about a half a dozen shots.I quit hunting because the D N R has too many seasons before the regular rifle season. By time the season opens, there have been so many people prowling around in the woods, the deer all go nocturnal or have arrows in them anyway.

    • Up North Progressive says:

      I live on the eastern edge of the Manistee National Forest and except for one shot this afternoon, have heard no shooting in the forest this weekend.

  • Ferd Burfel says:

    Probably because they all traded the double barrel in for an AK-47, and now there isn’t $56 worth of meat left.

    Besides, they’re hoarding the ammo for the coming coup. They’re going to put Ted Nugent into the White House ya know …

  • Al K. says:

    Tracy Novak;the wolves and “mountain lions”(cougars,actually) and coyotes have all been a part of the UP nature landscape for CENTURIES. They have co-existed with deer for all that time. No “liberal”(which is what I’m sure you’re implying) released them up there just to eat the deer and piss people like you off. If you eliminate all the predators(don’t forget the black bears),you WILL be overrun with deer and then they will devastate the crops that are up there and you’ll be pissed about that as well. Admittedly,there are fewer crops in the UP than there are in the Mitten,but there is a point to be made.
    I live in the lower central part of the Mitten with plenty of shooting(I was out both Sat. and Sun.) and plenty of deer. Would you like to hunt trophy deer on my land? I won’t charge you much;it would be cheaper than heading north. What? Don’t like the fee? That’s Capitalism,bucko…

  • lori says:

    Here are the reasons I have heard from Up hunters..its too cold, too much snow this year to sit in a blind…but add to that the herds are down and many have migrated because of the weather..not heard raising the fees as an excuse yet…in fact they are advertising to not even shoot the bucks unless they have large racks..let em grow..let em grow is the mantra…must everything be so political and factless? We all have anecdotal evidence to prove our point, this is mine from those who know..

    • Up North Progressive says:

      It’s not factless. Everyone I have talked to in person or online says the same thing. The game areas should be packed with hunters, and they’re just not there. I understand in the Western UP where they got 3 feet of snow last week there will be fewer hunters, but in the Eastern UP and in the finger tips of the mitten where we have a few inches of snow on the ground the hunters are still not out there. The cost of hunting licenses is keeping people out of the woods this season.

  • Tim says:

    In the western U.P., it is definitely the lack of deer due to the large numbers of wolves that is causing the drop in licenses sold. I used to hunt there, and I’ve gotten tired of not seeing any deer anymore.

  • Tina says:

    I just got back from the Western U.P. and yes, there is 3 ft. of snow making it very hard to walk to your blind and all of the seasonal roads where I usually hunt are unable to be driven down, even with a quad. Talking to the locals, the deer herd is definitely down up there due to the hard winters and the wolves. We saw two wolves on the side of the road dead on our trip home. There are a lot less hunters up in the area of the Western U.P., in years past I have had to reserve a hotel room months in advance, now the hotel is literally empty. Hunters are not coming up like they used to, whether it is the lack of deer due to wolves or weather, economy, or cost of licenses, you decide what to believe. In every bar in the area we were in there are bumper stickers that say “Venison is good, 10,000 wolves can’t be wrong”.

  • sam says:

    I expect out of state deer licenses to be way down due to the steep increase in deer license fees and deep snow. Lack of deer last year (I saw zero while stillhunting) will also contribute. I wish there were a reduced second week deer license for Wisconsin residents, I can’t get up there until the second week due to the Wisconsin school schedule, no way I’m paying ridiculously increased fees, to hunt just half the deer season, and see fewer (probably no) deer. I also have to admit its frustrating to compete against the baiters who’ve already hauled hundreds of pounds of bait into the woods by the time I get a chance to hunt. I’m sitting this year out, thanks DNR for a deer season to remember. Maybe I’ll go steelhead fishing instead over thanksgiving and get some use out of that $80 out of state fishing license.

  • Rayzor says:

    I feel the same way, i’ve hunted all very long time but since they’ve raised the price i now go to my friends farm and purchase a half side of beef instead. I’ve always enjoyed hunting even though some years i came home with nothing but if i had to purchase a license and came home with nothing… well lets do the math… beef vs. venison… gas, lodging ammo or arrows and of course the license. No Brainer… Beef it is… Thanks for screwing one of my many hobbies i really liked

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