Deer season means big bucks for businesses

Jordan Beck | Daily Press Munising hunter Bryan Ekberg fills a cart at Elmer’s County Market Monday while getting ready for Michigan’s firearm deer season. Popular items at Elmer’s during this season include beer, eggs, butter, sausage, bacon, smoked oysters, pickled eggs, and sardines.

ESCANABA — Michigan’s firearm deer season starts today. That means big bucks for hunters — and local businesses. According to representatives of local businesses, deer season has a positive impact on sales year after year. This firearm deer season is proving to be no exception.

Lake Michigan Armory Sales Associate Tom Selin said that thanks to the firearm deer season and other hunting seasons, business at his store is particularly strong from September to December.

“(That’s) our busiest time of year,” he said.

According to Selin, a broad range of items are popular at Lake Michigan Armory during the firearm deer season.

“We do good with selling all supplies, and firearms, and ammunition,” he said. Rifles, ammunition, scopes, and scope mounts are all strong sellers there at this time of year.

Grocery stores in the area also see an increase in sales tied to the firearm deer season and the traditional stay at hunting camp. According to Elmer’s County Market General Manager Rod Stende, deer hunting’s impact on business at Elmer’s is so significant that the store’s employees consider it an unofficial part of the holiday season.

“We look at it as kind of the third holiday,” Stende said.

The peak day for pre-deer hunting business at Elmer’s is typically Nov. 13.

“Two days before is usually the biggest day,” Stende said. He noted this is the case because, by the time nightfall arrives on Nov. 14, many hunters have headed out to their camps.

Popular items at Elmer’s during the firearm deer season include camp staples such as beer, eggs, butter, sausage, and bacon. However, there are some less conventional foods that see above-average sales in mid-November.

“There are some items that seem to only sell for deer season,” Stende said. These include smoked oysters, pickled eggs, and sardines.

At Escanaba gas station ECO Fuels, sales began increasing late last week as traveling hunters started making their way to the area.

“Business has been good the last few days,” Manager Paul Carne said. He noted that, along with fuel, hunters have been buying soda and other beverages at ECO Fuels.

Carne said the firearm deer season helps a wide variety of local businesses.

“Deer season brings tourists in, and tourism helps the economy,” he said.