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The USFWS released the 2004 Hunting License Reports for hunting and fishing licenses sold nationwide. Paid hunting license holders in America increased in 2004 by 0.3 percent from 2003 (14,740,188 to 14,779,071). The 2004 figures show gross license expenditures was $703,794,135.24, an increase of 3.5% over 2003.

I find it interesting that hunter numbers in Michigan are dropping while nationwide they are rising. Because of that, it’s logical to conclude that some of the common reasons for a drop in hunter numbers in Michigan are incorrect. Hunter recruitment has been touted as a main reason by the DNR (and many others) as why Michigan’s hunter numbers are dropping. Why are other states not having the same recruitment problems then?
 

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What percentage was the drop for Michigan? It would be interesting to see if it is at the same rate as our population drop. Without seeing any percentages, the fact that the state populations is dropping as a whole was my 1st thought. Last figure I saw was two people leave for every person coming to this state.
 

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Here comes another uneducated blanket statement from muskydan!!!! Michigan also has one of the largest obesity rates amoung its children. Is there a correlation between the two??? Lose the PS2s, Xboxes, and personal computers and let the parents that choose to take their 8,9, and 10 year old children hunting with them give their kids guns.

Outddor Life had an article a few months back that pointed Michigan's hunter decline out.

Here is another thought. The number 1 gamebird in North America is the dove, I have heard that more people in America hunt doves than all other gamebirds combined. I wonder if this correlates with hunter numbers.
 

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This is all opinion...of course, but:

*Highest youth hunter ages in the country
*Reliance on baiting in heavily forested/public land areas of MI
*Low level of quality/hunting opportunity in MI

We start our kids into hunting way to late. Most shoot 1000's of people on a video game before they are ever allowed to take a gun into the woods. Also, much of our northern camp culture does not include children..in some cases children are not even welcome. Women aren't allowed in many camps (at least wives and girlfriends), and it's not much of a family atmosphere at times. When I've hunted in the south it was mostly fathers and sons, grandpas, grandsons, but very few guys were actually hunting without their kids. It wasn't a "youth hunt"..they don't need a youth hunt, it seemed the youth were already included. Also, a lot don't agree, but I personally don't feel the heavy reliance on baiting is too attractive to youth and first time hunters. Also, by being able to improve yourself as a hunter, experience new things, increase your skill level, partake in new challenges, you can further enhance your overall hunting enjoyment....around here it boils down for a lot of guys to sitting in the same blind, staring at the same pile of bait, and being subject to the ever changing whims of mother nature and population changes.

Whatever you believe though, most kids LOVE hunting, especially with dad, and although they might not all grow up to be Daniel Boone, if they are exposed to hunting early they will have fond memories that last a lifetime. We have to get these kids to love hunting BEFORE they are exposed to X-box for hours a day...not after! My kids have been in the woods running beagles when they were so young they had to be carried and the sounds of birds, beagles, and wind were as new to them as solid food....it has to be earlier than we typically do! I've shot huge trophy bucks, hunted in several states, hunted several hundred hours a year..and there is no goal of mine that is greater than my wish one day to experience my children's first deer hunt and harvest....and rest assured it will not be in MI with our current age limits. I would happily trade all my "trophies", land, and my own personal hunting time to see my kids develop as avid hunters.
 

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yeah that!!!

When I was 12 I use to go in the woods exploring, I had chores that included splitting and stacking firewood out in the forest alone, and I had friends that lived miles away that rode their bikes with me to the river to fish. Kids can't do this anymore cause their are registered sex offenders living on every street in lower Michigan:rant: !!!! Seriously kids have to play inside and stay closer to home and be constantly supervised in todays culture it does break down the adventerous spirit. Allowing these kids to hunt with mom or dad at a younger age might help bring that spirit back!!!
 

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Urban sprawl/loss of habitat probably figure into it. Growing up in southern Michigan, you had to walk a mile or more to get to your "neighbor". Now you can't shoot a gun without having a house in the background. I also could hunt literally thousands of acres. No such thing as posted land back then. Everyone allowed everyone access.
 

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All good reasons. Bottom line, today's hunters need to get tomorrow's hunters in the woods and exposed. My kids have been going with me since they could walk, and this year my daughter will finally be able to carry a gun and bow during season.

The hunting age issue is a joke, and our higher age is basically used as an excuse to not to "share" the woods with some kids. Sad, but true.

Dan
 

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north jeff nailed it , the other problem is people that are too selfish to let a small deer walk and let a kid take it,or step away from there bait that they are guarding and learn how to hunt ! we cannot take our populaton numbers up with all of these people that are shooting deer out of there back door , and if we loose our populations we will loose our hunters ! and think about the scum that dont buy a licence till they get a deer cause they have not seen there deer on opening day in years . i guess there are more problems think about all of these hornography videos all that they show is instant gradification not the hundreds of hours those of us that are dedicated put in to find the game we are after ,the cold days and nights spent walking around to find these hot spots and when they are after whatever it is they chase in summer and i am walking around being attacked by mosquetos . it really boils down to lazyness , and if you want to know i took 4 different kids out hunting this year non of which were mine and they took a total of 5 bucks,2bobcat,17rabbits,9pats and alot of squriles .
 

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Neil:

That is very interesting link you posted with LOTS of good information. I hope everyone took the time to read it. I would like to see them obtain / lease a lot more land in the Southern third. That program used to be good, but it has become a joke.

Interesting statistics on how Hunting in Michigan has become DEER HUNTING while years ago many people only hunted small game. With the poor Pheasant / Grouse hunting we have compared to years ago this isn't a surprise.

Give me a 12 year old, 2 boxes of shells, a "hot" dove field and I'll have that kid hooked for life. Kids need action and what a better way to provide it. Trust me, the antis know that a dove season will help our recruitment numbers.
 

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That is a good link that Neil posted...and the only thing I'd like to see different on their recommendations is to reduce bow hunting for deer from 12 to 10. Actually I'd rather see the age limits be eliminated with a mentor/parent/guardian for rifle or bow, only go by the caliber or bow weight restriction, but you have to start somewhere.
 

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ok im going out on a limb here,,, and probably sawing it off behind me.
michigan is one of those few states that votes democratic. (now hear me out on this) i wonder if the other states such as the east coast and california that als vote democrat are seeing the same thing?
my theory is predominant liberalism is a good indicator of droppiing hunter numbers. not sure if its true,,, just a thought. im supposing tree huggers and vegans don't hunt much.
that and kids are so placated with their xboxes and satalite tv that they can't drag their mcdonalds fed, lard incrusted butts off the couch.
lol, well if that doesn't get me some arrows shot my way nothing will.
 

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"that and kids are so placated with their xboxes and satalite tv that they can't drag their mcdonalds fed, lard incrusted butts off the couch" :) :)
 

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Just an observation from hunting in different areas of the state from private to public, but the funny thing is I see more youth involved in hunting downstate in a lot of private land areas I've hunted where access is very hard to find....yet up here in the U.P. very few kids seem to hunt, but the U.P. is 70-80% corporate or public!?!? Up here access is no problem at all, yet fewer kids seem to be hunting with adults. Would be interesting to see how many kids hunt per hunters in the U.P. compared to lower MI. My friend I know that graduated high school from around here knows very few kids he graduated with, that hunt.
 

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NorthJeff's early post was right on. Deer hunting is fun for adults, but less so for kids. It is usually a long day-starts out early, is cold and boring for the kids. I can sit for hours on end, but neither my 6, 8 or 11 year old can. My 11 year old loves going deer hunting with me (I hunt a dairy farm in mid MI). But I pick my days to take him. The weather has to be (relatively) nice and I take him later in the season when there is not so much pressure. I also try to pattern some deer and save them for when I take him out. To him, a doe is a fine trophy and I save taking my doe for hunting with him.

That all being said, all my kids really enjoy rabbit and squirrel hunting-especially rabbit. We poke along the field edges and fencerows -they walk the paths mostly. I point out brush piles to jump on and we occassionally shoot a rabbit. After a couple 2-3 hours, we head to the local diner and hit a late breakfast with a nice hot cup of hot chocolate. If the kids are up to it, we either go back out-or head to a lake check out the ice fishing (although not this year!). It makes a great day for the kids-if we get a rabbit or 2 or 3, great-if not (like yesterday) great too. The emphasis is on getting outside and having some nice leasurely time outdoors-not killing something. The kids call it going on an "Adventure" as in "Daddy, we always like to go hunting and fishing with you because it is always an Adventure".

BTW-In my house there are no video games and we do not get cable (yeah-that one hurts on occassion, but my house is better for it). At my cottage, we have no TV at all.

Jim
 

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Well lets see they can't gun hunt till they are in high school and by then there is plent other stuff to keep them busy, the youth hunt participants get ragged on because they shot someone elses deer, the deer number in the majority of the state have been decimated and many are saying to heck with it, to hunt nice property in this state you either own it or have to be a millionaire to lease it. HMMMMMMMMMMM I really don't understand why they would be dwindling either good question

AW
 
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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
According to the DNR statistics I've read, for at least two years in a row, youth deer hunting numbers are on the rise in Michigan. I'm not sure about small game licenses though, but I'm just not buying the argument that our recent decline in overall hunter numbers is due to a lack of youth recruitment. Unlike other states, we seem to be loosing hunters faster than they are being replaced. The recruitment rate is going up, so the problem to me seems to boil down to the retention of hunters. What are other states doing differently than Michigan to retain hunters?
Access and urban sprawl were brought up but I just don't see how access in Michigan is worse than in other states. We have more public land than any other state east of the Mississippi and our population is going down, so sprawl is also much less than other growing states.
The reliance on baiting in Michigan is not much different than in Wisconsin or Texas, yet you don’t hear about hunter numbers dropping there. That’s not it.

Was it a coincidence that we had higher hunter numbers when we had a Republican in the governor’s mansion? Republican’s probably answer “no” and democrats say “yes”. Independents like me typically decide such political questions. Would hunters have been better off with Jeffrey Feiger or Dick Posthumus? I didn’t like Engler and I don’t like Granholm.

I would agree that a low of quality hunting opportunity in MI may be part of the problem. . I know of lots of people that have given up hunting because they feel the hunting is poor. However I wonder how the economy and the environment factor in. If your job is not secure, hunting is one of the luxury items that many will give up when push comes to shove. One of my charter customers called me last night and told me that he is loosing his job. It’s being outsourced to China. He may have to move. I know of a lot of people, especially older folks, that are migrating south faster than Canada Geese. Snowbirds are very common in Michigan and many are forgoing deer season to get away from our climate. The DNR is addressing recruitment, but in my opinion, they need to be focusing more on retention to stave the tide of decline. Maybe we should replace the youth season with an early senior season.
 
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