LANSING, Mich. (WLNS) — Michigan reported that hunting sales are down 2% from 2021.

It’s part of a downward trend that has occurred during the last 20 years.

One Michigan sporting goods store owner said he may have the answer to fixing that decline.

“We sell about approximately about 4% of all hunting and fishing licenses in the state of Michigan,” said Tom Knutson, the owner of Brooklyn-based Knutson’s Sporting Goods.

Knutson said sales for firearm season this year are a little below average which he thinks is because opening day is on a Tuesday.

“The state you know tries to get people to go out hunting, begs people to go out hunting and fishing,” said Knutson. “You open up the season in the middle of the week you lose hunter opportunity to the tune of about 30% difference in sales from when you have a Saturday opener or even a Sunday opener.”

Knutson says most people don’t know that the federal government takes 10% of all whole sales on hunting and fishing merchandise.

The states with the most hunting and fishing licenses get a higher percentage of that money collected, so fewer hunters means less money for Michigan.

“We increase by 30% the sales of merchandise that goes along with the sales of the licenses,” said Knutson. “That adds thirty percent more of that time frame into coffers that eventually could come back to the state of Michigan.”

The sporting goods store owner said that hunting season should start on Saturday because believes the move would not only increase sales across the state, but allow more people to enjoy the outdoors that Michigan has to offer.

“Saturday is your number one choice to have an opener almost every other state has a Saturday,” said Knutson. “But Saturdays by far would be the best for hunter opportunity.”

The Department of Natural Resources reported that deer hunting license sales are down almost 4% or 50,000 licenses, which is nothing new as the state has been experiencing an annual decline of 2% each year.