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Hunting and fishing license sales increase as Michiganders seek pandemic relief

Rob Bengal fishing Grand River, Grand Rapids, MI photo
Patrick Center

Virus-weary Michiganders are heading outdoors. According to the state Department of Natural Resources, more than 545,000 hunters in Michigan had bought licenses through Nov. 11, nearly 10-percent more than at the same point in 2019.

Fishing license sales are also on the rise as a means to escape from the pandemic.

“We are down at the 6th Street dam. I’m on my lunch break actually and I’m doing a little Steelhead fishing,” explains Rob Bengel.

“Floating some center-pin bobbers down the river looking for some Steelhead and maybe some Browns or Lakes or anything.”

Bengel makes a cast into the Grand River.

“It makes you go a little stir-crazy when you’re sitting at home working all day. The entire day. The entire week for months-on-end. There’s no end in sight right now. I mean, there is a vaccine but I’m assuming it won’t be another four or five months until we can actually go back to work. So, it’s nice to get out in the sun, get a little Vitamin D and relax a little bit.”

Bengel reels in his line and casts, again.

“There’s something a little bit meditative about running water and fishing in it. The serenity of it. We’re lucky to have such a big river and such a good fishery right downtown. So, it’s nice to be able to take advantage of it.”

“I’ve been an advocate for the out-of-doors since I’ve been born. My dad raised me that way and so it’s great to see people coming around a little bit more seeing some additional interest in the sport. Our state could use the funding, that’s for sure…I mean, it’s all permit sales. So, it’s great to see.” 

Patrick joined WGVU Public Media in December, 2008 after eight years of investigative reporting at Grand Rapids' WOOD-TV8 and three years at WYTV News Channel 33 in Youngstown, Ohio. As News and Public Affairs Director, Patrick manages our daily radio news operation and public interest television programming. An award-winning reporter, Patrick has won multiple Michigan Associated Press Best Reporter/Anchor awards and is a three-time Academy of Television Arts & Sciences EMMY Award winner with 14 nominations.