There's Big Bucks in Hunting Big Bucks, Shows Northland Economy

Alicia Tipcke
Updated: November 08, 2019 10:41 PM

While the focus on deer hunting season is primarily on the bucks, the Northland economy shows the multi-billion dollar business provides shops, camp sites and outfitters with a lot of bucks. 


"For us this time of year in the fall is our busy time," said Scott Miller of Northwest Outlet.

"The month of November with firearms deer season is pretty hectic normally," commended Randy Bowe, the owner of Bowe Taxidermy. 

In Minnesota, deer hunting generates nearly $500 million annually in total economic activity, according to the DNR. In Wisconsin, hunters spend $2.5 billion annually, with 88 percent of hunters pursuing deer, according to the National Survey of Fishing, Hunting, and Wildlife Data. 

"I'm sure that the sporting goods stores are doing a lot of business for ammunition and clothing, and odds and ends. Hopefully it'll be busy and the guys and gals will be able to get some nice bucks and will start to pound on my door Monday morning," said Bowe.

"The big thing for us is the apparel sales, and the associated equipment, whether you're really roughing it in a hunting shack or you have a recliner and a heater in your deer stand," added Miller. 

Miller noted that in the fall blaze orange items and winter clothing are his best selling items. With blaze orange bibs, jackets, gloves and hats lining the shelves of stores throughout the Northland. Beyond clothing, cold weather survival gear is picked up by many hunters, including hand warmers, blankets and other safety gear. 

As for Bowe, his taxidermy business usually is busy in November with more customers requesting deer mounts following the Minnesota and Wisconsin deer firearms season openers. 

Besides apparel and mounts, license purchases make up a large portion of the hunting economy. License sales go towards funding wildlife habitats, fisheries, conservation offices and more.

There are around 600,000 Minnesota hunters according to the DNR. A general deer firearm permit is about $34 in Minnesota and about $24 in Wisconsin.

One way the money is returned to residents is through the Hides for Habitats program. "It's kind of a recycle program, where you recycle your hide into a MDHA box, preferably. Where [then] the money is used, after the sales of the hides, for youth or a habitat project," said Brad Trevena of the Minnesota Deer Hunters Association (MDHA). 

"Every little bit, every dollar that's spent in an economy around here for deer season is money well spent," added Miller.

The Minnesota firearms deer season opens Saturday, while the Wisconsin firearms deer season openers November 23. 


Alicia Tipcke

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