Local and regional leaders representing sporting organizations, chambers of commerce, small businesses and retailers held a press conference on October 14 at the Michigan Chamber of Commerce in Lansing to announce their participation in a new partnership called Hunting Works For Michigan. The new partnership has brought a diverse and unprecedented set of over 100 partners together and will be looking to make a real impact in the state. Never before has a Hunting Works For America state chapter launched with so many partner groups, and it will be looking to add more in the weeks and months to come.
“Hunting is an activity that has a real impact on Michigan’s local economies, and that’s why we wanted to join this effort,” said Rich Studley, president & CEO of the Michigan Chamber of Commerce and a co-chair of the new group. “The Michigan Chamber is a voice for all of Michigan’s businesses and we want to make sure they have the support they need to prosper and in turn help our communities prosper. In many places in Michigan hunters are integral to the local businesses and we want to support that.”
Hunting Works For Michigan is focused on educating the public on how hunting impacts Michigan’s economy, monitoring public policy decisions and weighing in on hunting-related issues that impact Michigan jobs. The Hunting Works For Michigan partners have joined in order to facilitate important public policy dialogue and to tell the story of how Michigan’s hunting heritage positively effects conservation and jobs throughout the state.
“We see hunters in the stores all the time during hunting season,” said Mark Griffin, president of the Michigan Petroleum Association and Michigan Association of Convenience Stores, and a co-chair of Hunting Works For Michigan. “Our members appreciate the business that hunters bring in and it’s a lot of business. Not enough people understand that hunters spend money all over, they buy gas and groceries, they stay in hotels and they eat at local restaurants. We wanted to be a part of telling that story to everyone in Michigan.”
According to the Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation, over 528,000 people hunt in Michigan each year. Hunting Works For Michigan was formed to highlight the impact these hunters have in the state. For example, hunters in Michigan spend over $270 million on hunting trips and over $1.3 billion on equipment. All told, hunters spend $2.3 billion annually in the state of Michigan.
“As the head of the Cadillac Area Visitors Bureau, I have seen the varied and robust impact hunters have on our local economy, and I am excited about sharing that story with others in our state,” said Joy VanDrie, executive director of the Cadillac Area Visitors Bureau, co-chair of the Hunting & Fishing Committee of the Michigan Association of Convention & Visitors Bureaus, and a co-chair of Hunting Works For Michigan. “The money spent by hunters supports over 34,400 jobs and has a $3.9 billion ripple effect on Michigan’s economy, those of numbers that should be shared far and wide.”
While the economic contributions of hunters are considerable, hunters’ dollars also pay for conservation efforts. Thanks to the Pittman-Robertson Act, hunters pay an 11 percent excise tax on equipment sales that is used to conserve and restore habitat.
“As the owner of a sporting goods store, I know all about the economic side of hunting, but hunters do even more than just support businesses like mine,” said Jeff Poet, owner of Jay’s Sporting Goods and a co-chair of Hunting Works For Michigan. “As a member of the Michigan Wildlife Council I also know all about how hunters are funding our conservation efforts. Michigan, and America, would not have the natural beauty we do without hunters paying for licenses, tags and an 11 percent excise tax on their hunting equipment, which goes toward conservation funding.”
Hunting Works For Michigan and its partners plan to attend events and educate the public and elected officials on why hunting and the shooting sports are so important to Michigan’s economy.
“Hunting has a long heritage in Michigan, and we want to keep it that way,” said Dan Eichinger, executive director of Michigan United Conservation Clubs and co-chair of Hunting Works For Michigan. “By educating people about the many benefits hunting brings to our state we can create support for our hunters and those people who may be new to the sport. Hunters provide benefits for everyone, even if they don’t know it.”
The newly formed Hunting Works For Michigan partnership is supported by sporting organizations such as the National Shooting Sports Foundation.
“Michigan has some beautiful country, and I can’t think of anything better than spending a weekend with friends or family calling in a turkey or waiting for a white tail,” said Jimmy Gretzinger host of Michigan Out of Doors Television and co-chair of Hunting Works For Michigan. “I am so grateful that I get to spend my time traveling to every corner of our great state to hunt, a pastime that connects me with nature and our heritage. I am proud to be a hunter and a part of this effort. I hope everyone who sees a hunter this fall will thank them for the contributions they make to our state.”
In the News
State Launches Hunting Works for Michigan Coalition, WILX TV10, Lansing