Gun hunting season kicks off Thursday. This highly anticipated sport grosses $1.3 billion each year and generates $153 million in state tax revenue for Michigan according to the Michigan’s Department of Natural Resources.
With more than 750,000 registered hunters, it is no wonder that many classrooms are often left a bit emptier than other days.
Michael Sunday, 19, of Rockford, plans to skip school for opening day this year as he has in the past to hunt on private land. Hunting is a family tradition for Sunday. “I was brought up in that environment. It is good bonding time. And it provides meat for winter,” Sunday said.
Bob Crosby, 21, of Lowell, has been hunting since he was 12 years old. He favors a Winchester 12-gauge with a red dot sight and hunts on private land. Crosby comes from a family of six hunters, so there is usually a plethora of venison. “Typically, we give a lot of it away,” he said. “We keep one. Give seven or eight (deer) to family.”
When asked if he was planning to take the day off for hunting this year, Crosby said he didn’t have time.
“Not this year,” Crosby said. “This year I have work and school. I’d skip if it was just school.” Although he does not typically skip any other day than Nov. 15, he admits he will skip other days “if there’s a big one out there.”
Not only does hunting stimulate Michigan’s economy, but it also helps to control the deer population. In 2011, 691,215 Michiganders purchased a hunting license according to Michigan’s DNR Deer Harvest Survey Report, and 422,000 deer were harvested. That is nearly half a million less deer that could jump out in front of your car.
In Crosby’s opinion, not hunting deer is inhumane. “They have to starve through the winter anyway,” he said. “It’s more humane than starving to death.”
Sunday agrees with Crosby. “It helps keep the deer population in check and helps farmers with keeping their crops,” he said.
Sunday also said that hunting is kinder to the animals than buying meat from a store. “If you’re a meat eater, those animals (you eat) are bred to be killed,” he said. “Deer (hunting) is random selection.”
For more information on hunting, visit michigan.gov/dnr.