Surge in deer hunters expected due to pandemic

NOW: Surge in deer hunters expected due to pandemic

EAU CLAIRE, Mich. -- The beginning of fall also brings the start of deer hunting season in Michigan, with bow hunting now open statewide.

Although the sport is popular in Southwest Michigan due to its robust population of deer, there actually aren’t many venison processors left in the area, which means higher demand at a place like Clear Water Meats in Eau Claire.

“We have such a great habitat for them around here,” said owner Tim Nimtz. “You have all the corn fields, all the apples, everything is right here for them to grow and thrive.”

Clear Water Meats has been in business for six years and owner Nimtz says his shop is able to specialize in deer due to the high quality, and high population of them, thanks to Southwest Michigan’s agriculture.

“It’s more of a conservation effort, we want to keep a good balance in every area from bucks to does, you want to keep the ratios correct and you don’t want an abundance in one area because it’s a lot of damage for farmers around here,” said Nimtz.

Although deer season normally picks up the most once firearm hunting begins in November, Nimtz says he’s already seen an increase in hunters and customers coming into his shop because of the increased desire to get outdoors. 

“They want to get out there and do the hobby they’ve been lacking the past however many years because they’ve been working and not doing what they love,” said Nimtz.

Nimtz also says he’s not giving up being one of the last places in Berrien County able to do proper deer processing.

“It’s definitely a dying art in our area and there’s a lot involved with doing it correctly with state licensing, health inspections and doing a quality job is a lot harder,” said Nimtz.

Deer bow hunting season in Michigan runs until Nov.14 then picks back up Dec. 1 and ends for the year Jan. 1.

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