Lake County Businesses Welcome Hunters For Opening Day Weekend

In only two days, hunters from all over will head out into the woods.

Opening Day of deer season is almost here.

It’s an unofficial holiday in Northern Michigan and thousands will be celebrating.

Hotels and restaurants across our area are certainly ready to see business pick up again.

9&10’s Cody Boyer and photojournalist Jeff Blakeman visited one village in Lake County to see how they prepare.

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Fridges are full, shelves are stocked and doors are opening early for hunters.

For businesses, the opening day of firearm season is just as important.

"It’s a great time. Everybody comes from town," says Rick Delamater, co-owner of the Outdoor Inn in Baldwin. "They want to get out in the state and federal forests and hunt some whitetail."

Big signs welcoming hunters … they are all over Baldwin.

"There’s three-quarters of a million acres I believe in Lake County so there’s plenty of places to come and hunt," Delamater says.

Rick has co-owned the Outdoor Inn for 10 years.

But some of his hunting guests go back four decades.

"A lot of these guys have been coming long before I’ve had the place, even, and it’s an annual outing for them," Delamater says.

But before things get going Sunday morning, hunters need a place to go.

Bars like the Government Lake Lodge roll out the red carpet.

"We open up earlier, about 7 in the morning, to accommodate them," says Bridget Lamoreaux, owner of the Government Lake Lodge. "As long as the customers are happy and they are getting served, they are more likely to come back up towards our area."

Steven Troupe at Barski is also vying for the crowds.

More hunters mean more mouths to feed.

"We got to buy more food," Troupe says. "More staff has to be on and on times where we wouldn’t normally need more staff. We got to bring them in early and get ready for the rush."

For businesses, part of it is the bottom line … but they want to make sure everyone has fun.

"Be safe and have a successful season," Delamater says. "Enjoy the time outdoors."

With three weekends of hunting total, businesses we talked to say this season should be a good one.