MUSKEGON COUNTY, MICH. - Tuesday, Nov. 15, is a big day in Michigan -- the start of firearm deer season.
The event is important to the state's economy, generating an estimated $2.3 billion dollars annually, according to the state's Department of Natural Resources.
Michigan's hunter participation ranks third in the country. In 2011, the most recent numbers available, there were more than 795,000 registered hunters in Michigan.
Just a day prior, hunters were purchasing bait Monday at Moores Produce in Muskegon County. Owner Linda Simons says this is the busiest time of the year at her road-side business. She gives credit to deer hunters.
"They just love to spend money on the deer, that's all I can say," Simons said.
The business has large bags of carrots, apples and sugar beats hunters use to attract deer.
Muskegon hunter Calvin Camp took Monday and Tuesday off from work. He just purchased six bags of bait from Moores Produce, and he's already selected a few spots to hunt.
"We are going to drop a couple bags at each spot," Camp said.
Dave Sova started hunting with his father when he was 10 years old. He missed opening day once since then, and boot camp was the reason.
"It was tough running that morning knowing should be in the woods," Sova said.
Deer camps around the state were established Monday. Mike Cribbs was in a T-shirt at his Oceana County camp. He and other hunters hoped the ground would be covered in snow.
"Cold weather moves the deer more," Cribbs said.
In Newaygo County, the Hesperia School District gives students opening day off. At the sport shop across the street, the parking lot is packed.
"That is certainly what we like to see, if we do not have that going on today then we might be in trouble in February," said Jim Lavin, owner of Hesperia Sport Shop.
Customer Dwayne VanDuzen hasn't missed opening day since 1945. He stopped at the sports store to get a license before driving up north to Benzie County.
"It's the anticipation of being out in the woods and seeing some critters," VanDuzen said.
It should be warm opening day, with highs in the mid 50s -- and one with a supermoon, which some hunters believe will have an impact on the deer.
"Some people think it gets them to move more," Cribbs said.
Hunters who aren't successful on opening day there is still plenty of time: the firearms deer season runs until the end of November.
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