When you think Detroit you think cars, but you should be thinking deer.
Deer hunting season is coming to a close soon in Michigan, Wisconsin and other Midwestern and Southern states. Depending on where you’re at, it’s a month or two of some of the best game hunting in the world.
Reports are coming in, and they’ve largely been good. It was a good rut year, and the harvest seems bountiful, according to a number of reports.
“With a cold front moving in and plenty of deer to choose from, it’s truly a magical time to be in the woods,” writes Heath Barksdale in the Madison County (Ark.) Record.
While many, understandably, are focusing on the bucks, others are focusing on bucks of a different kind. More than half a million hunters participate in the season in economically stressed Michigan, and that’s a huge financial impact on the state.
Many of those hunters are not locals. Deer hunting season is Michigan is so big it typically draws thousands of other avid hunters from around the nation. Many hunters move from state to state in the Midwest, looking for the best seasonal harvests.
“From what we can tell right now, the harvest is up from last year, which is a good sign going into the gun season,” said Bill Hogseth, a Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources wildlife biologist in Eau Claire.
Hogseth and other experts across the region say last year’s mild winter should have helped in the growth of deer herds, so people should see more deer.
“The weather looks favorable for hunting conditions,” Hogseth said. “I think some people are still seeing deer on the move. We’re in the tail end of the rut, so deer movement should be pretty good.”
One of the factors on how many deer will be harvested depends on the state, county or hunting zone you’re in. Some local officials want to increase the deer herd and some want to maintain it; that means close to the same amount or fewer tags will be distributed.
In Michigan alone, Hunters will spend $1.3 billion on hunting equipment, $2.3 billion on food and lodging and will stay in the field an average of seven days, The Detroit Free Press reports.
In September, the Michigan Department of Natural Resources released its 2016 Michigan Deer Hunting Prospects report. The report notes the mild winter last year offers hope that this year’s deer hunting season will see improvements from 2015.
But, as Barksdale reports in Arkansas, all the studies in the world don’t substitute for experience.
“There is no substitute for experience,” he stresses. “Once you’ve hunted your area for a while, you will learn where the deer are at and you will learn how they travel and a good plan of attack from there is all you can do. If you’re wanting a trophy buck, well, those are like needles in a haystack but if you feel around enough in there, you might just pull one out!”