Fewer people are hunting in Michigan and that spells a not so rosy picture for wildlife, habitat and for the funding needed to ensure the future of wildlife.
“We are unfortunately not seeing as many hunters, especially Michigan and the rest of the nation has been on downward trend for hunters for the last 15 years,” Ashley Autenrieth, deer program biologist for the Michigan Department of Natural Resources (DNR), told WSYM-TV.
The DNR reports hunting numbers are down from .07 percent to two percent each year. And fewer hunters translate into a larger deer population which means more of a negative impact on agricultural crops and the habitat in general. It also means greater numbers of deer along busy roads and highways which can lead to dangerous to deadly vehicle-deer collisions.
Hunters combine with anglers to spend $4.8 billion annually to help generate Michigan’s economy so shrinking hunting numbers means less of an impact on businesses.
Perhaps the most alarming consequence of diminishing hunting numbers is the impact that has on hunting and conservation funding. Hunters are the primary tool used by biologist to manage wildlife populations and help them with issues such as Chronic Wasting Disease. An 11 percent excise tax on all guns, ammunition and archery supplies goes directly to funding that benefits wildlife and wild landscapes, so a reduction in overall hunting numbers reduces the amount of that vital funding.
(Photo source: Michigan Department of Natural Resources)