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Wild Turkey Flock

Nature & the Economy Owe a Debt of Gratitude to Michigan Sportsman

Glen Wunderlich

Glen Wunderlich

Lansing, Michigan - -( For some, it’s hard to comprehend how sportsmen and women – those that hunt and fish – are anything but thieves and killers when it comes to natural resources.

They may see, and unfortunately believe, the rhetoric from the opposition that we are nothing but a bunch of blood-thirsty Neanderthals out for thrills.

Although thrills certainly play a role in what we do, here are some facts from the National Shooting Sports Foundation and Safari Club International that are worth considering.

Michigan Sporstman Facts: 

  • *According to the last report, 34 million hunters and anglers spent $76 billion on everything from gear to guns to permits to travel to taxes, and directly supported 1.6 million jobs. Together, they are a force that helps to both drive and uphold the nation’s economy.
  • *Sportsmen support more jobs than the next biggest employer, the University of Michigan with 46,000 jobs vs. 38,000.
  • *Sportsmen spend more than the combined cash receipts for dairy, greenhouse/nursery, soybeans, corn, and cattle – the state’s top five agricultural commodities ($3.4 billion vs. $2.9 billion.)
  • *Michigan sportsmen pay $406 million in federal taxes and $378 million in state and local taxes.
  • *The ripple effect, which includes jobs, salaries and wages is $5.9 billion.
  • *On a national scale, these sportsmen generate $11.8 billion in taxes and create 680,300 jobs. It is the hunters’ dollars that have driven the resurgence in game and non-game species in the past century.
  • *Michigan ranks 6th in the nation with 501,421 in resident hunters. And, a look at statistics from Michigan’s deer hunting alone reveals $1.9 billion in retail sales, $983 million in jobs and wages employing some 27,400 people, $222.8 million in state and local taxes, and another $255.6 million in federal taxes.

So, when sportsmen and women are attacked, so is the funding that keeps the wildlife management engine pumping. These dollars are not coming from berry and mushroom pickers (unless, of course, they’re purchasing hunting and fishing licenses). They are not coming from the Humane Society of the United States or any other extremist group under the cover of misleading monikers.

It is regulated hunting and fishing and the income derived from sustainable harvest of these renewable resources that make it all work.

Yes, we kill animals. Not unlike the forest managers that kill trees for paper or lumber, or the wood mulch around your yard, we make sure that we manage our wildlife so that it remains for generations to come.

In the days of unregulated market hunting this wasn’t the case, when the almighty dollar trumped all. Those days are long gone but not forgotten. We’ve learned from the mistakes of the past, and when we see the gangs of wild turkeys or herds of deer so prominent today, we should remember that it has been hunters that brought them back from the brink of extinction. [Not Animal Rights or Pro Preservation Groups]

If there is a better way to manage wildlfe, I’ve yet to hear it.


About Glen Wunderlich
Charter Member Professional Outdoor Media Association (POMA). Outdoor writer and columnist for The Argus-Press ( and blog site at  Member National Rifle Association (NRA), Michigan United Conservation Clubs (MUCC), member U.S. Sportsmen’s Alliance (USSA), Quality Deer Management Association (QDMA), Commemorative Bucks of Michigan (CBM). Adjutant of Perry, Michigan Sons of Amvets Post 4064 and Chairman Perry (MI) Youth Hunt Extravaganza, a sanctioned event of Perry Sons of Amvets held the fourth weekend of September each year.

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