UP Businesses Hope to See Boost From Traveling Hunters

As sportsmen make their way through the state for the start of firearm season, local business hope to make some extra cash.

Many hunters trek across the Mackinac Bridge to track whitetails.

For cities like St. Ignace, it’s a nice boost for business.

“The UP has a ton of state land, there’s a lot of people that come from the Lower Peninsula to enjoy the beautiful UP for their hunting camps,” St. Ignace Visitors Bureau Director Quincy Ranville, said.

“It’s perfect timing because our color tours are done, we don’t have any snow yet for snowmobiles. It’s a nice little push,” Ranville, added.

The start of hunting season comes at a time when things have Eslowed down.

“It would be great if everybody just wanted to come here all the time and spend their money but you know that’s not how it is,” Wendy Belonga, joked.

Wendy Belonga manages the Village Inn.

She says opening day is a date they look forward to.

“Everybody looks forward to it, everyone is in a great mood, you know hunting season is just getting started. It’s a really good time and its some extra money for the employees to have in their pocket and extra money for everybody getting close to Christmas. It’s a really good thing for the town, a good pump of money,” Belonga, added.

Dan Esslinger owner of MI Patio Bar & Grill says the same thing.

“Any little bit of business that can help us get through these slow times is obviously going to help. Really counting on hunting season and getting some snow for snowmobile season, that obviously helps,” Esslinger, explained.

He says he’s already seen some returning riflemen.

“We just had our first camp return from last year so that’s always good to see people coming back to the area, there are some people coming around. We are hoping we get a few more this year,” Esslinger, said.

“I know there’s a lot of people up here for hunting and not everybody wants to cook every night, so we’ll be here!” Esslinger added.