With more than 43,000 acres of public forest land, the area surrounding Alpena, Michigan is a hunter’s paradise. Popular game species include whitetail deer, black bear, rabbit/hare, turkey, duck, geese, and upland bird. Sometimes referred to as “Big Camp Country,” Northeast Michigan carries a long tradition of passing down harvest traditions for multiple generations. Agricultural land is often managed with beneficial wildlife cover at certain times of the year, and efforts are made to ensure a healthy habitat for all forest creatures.
Active advocacy groups work to educate the region on proper wildlife management practices to maintain the health of the region’s resources. Youth firearm safety is a tenant of the local hunting community as is the philosophy of respecting the resources that provide food for Northeast Michigan families.
While a number of outdoor recreation activities motivate local economies, few can say that the money spent on such activities goes directly back to caring for the environment and wildlife. Without some of the work paid for by hunting and fishing license sales, Alpena wouldn’t have forest pathways to ski through in the winter or hike and bike in the summer. The amount of wildlife seen would decrease making those fleeting glimpses of an eagle swooping into Thunder Bay River to catch a fish, non-existent. There would be less diversity of the ecosystem driving us closer to an unhealthy monoculture environment. Hunting and fishing is a driving force behind the conservation of healthy public lands.
Funding provided for by hunting and fishing license sales also allows for the early detection of threats to wildlife. Would we learn about whitetail deer chronic wasting disease before it hits epidemic proportions, without the hunting community taking a vested interest in ensuring healthy whitetail populations? Those passionate about hunting and fishing are correspondingly passionate about caring for habitats. Additional programs supported by these sales allow for public education programs so private landowners can learn how to best manage their own property for wildlife benefits. Examples of such projects can be seen across the Northeast Michigan region.