By Michelle Grinnell
LANSING – As hunters celebrate another Deer season, Michigan’s economy stands to benefit from the influx of sportsmen and women taking to the woods and the fields. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service reported earlier this year that in 2011, hunting in Michigan generated more than $2.3 billion in economic impact, including $271 million directly related to trip expenses including food, lodging and transportation. Equipment costs made up 56 percent, or $1.3 billion, of expenditures. “Michigan has a strong hunting heritage, which translates into economic benefits for both the tourism and retail industries here in the state,” said Michigan Economic Development Corporation president and CEO Michael A. Finney. “Through our Pure Michigan campaign, and in partnership with the Michigan Department of Natural Resources, we are promoting natural resources and diverse hunting opportunities available here in the state.”
Michigan currently ranks 4th in the nation for the number of licensed hunters in the state. This year, The Michigan Department of Natural Resources (DNR) estimates more than 580,000 individuals will hunt during the November 15-30 firearm season and that more than 90 percent of Michigan hunters will pursue deer this year. Annual hunting participation in Michigan – as in many states – has decreased from levels a decade ago. However, expenditures by hunters have increased 276 percent between 2001 and 2011, resulting in a significant hunting-related economic impact for the state. Additionally, in recent years nearly 20,000 annual licensed deer hunters have come from outside of Michigan, representing every state in the nation and more than 20 different countries.
The Pure Michigan campaign is partnering with the DNR on marketing efforts to grow the number of hunters in the state, while also promoting fishing across Michigan. Hunting and fishing had a combined $4.7 billion economic impact in 2011, according to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. The partnership includes a Pure Michigan landing page on Michigan-based Carbon Media Group’s Outdoorhub.com. The landing page provides key information for sportsmen and women, hunting and fishing news and updates, original content created by hunters and anglers in the field and videos and articles with insights on types of hunting and fishing that can be done in Michigan. The site includes videos on a wide range of game – such as grouse, woodcock, whitetail deer and waterfowl – as well as both bow hunting and firearm techniques. Outdoorhub.com has the largest audience of sportsmen and women online.
The overall digital campaign also includes video content as well as online banner ads on AOL.com that went up in June and will run through the end of the month. The Outdoorhub.com and AOL content has combined for more than 50 million impressions in 2013. Much of the content on these sites is also available on the fishing and hunting pages at michigan.org, as well as on the DNR website. Pure Michigan has also added hunting and fishing-specific tabs to the Pure Michigan Facebook page. The new tabs provide resources, tips, and inside information on the best spots to hunt, what to bring on a hunting trip in Michigan and more.
With more than 575,000 fans of Pure Michigan on Facebook, the tabs also provide a place for hunters to join conversations about taking to the woods in search of that trophy buck. Pure Michigan has also partnered with the DNR on the Pure Michigan Hunt. Each year three hunters are drawn to win licenses for Elk, Bear, Turkey, Antlerless deer and first pick at managed waterfowl area, plus a $4,000 prize package. Pure Michigan is a brand representing business, talent and tourism initiatives across Michigan. These efforts are driven by the Michigan Economic Development Corporation, which serves as the state’s marketing arm and lead advocate for business growth, jobs and opportunity with a focus on helping grow Michigan’s economy. For more on the MEDC and its initiatives, visit: MichiganBusiness.org. For Michigan travel news, updates and information, visit michigan.org.