Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Popularity of hunting decreases across nation

© By Othmar Vohringer

In an Associated Press article by Todd Richmond, I read that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service estimated that hunting license sales in 33 states have declined. There is considerable concern that if this ongoing trend keeps up hunting as we know it and enjoy it might soon be a thing of the past.

There are many reasons why hunting is in decline. The loss of access to hunting land due to urban sprawl is listed as one of the major factors. There are other factors too such as the aging baby boomers that retire from hunting but most of concern are youth that rather spend all their time indoors playing computer games and on the internet than go outdoors.

The article is a good read and hopefully will encourage hunters to put their thinking cap on and come up with ideas how we as individuals can do more to get others interested in hunting. The future of hunting is not alone the concern of organizations but rather a concern that affects each of us and challenges us to make sure that hunting as a sport and sound wildlife management tool continues well into the future.

On the bright side it seems that animal rights and anti hunting rhetoric has very little impact on the decline of hunting. In a recent study to that affect I read that the public at large pays very little to no attention to animal rights and anti hunters rhetoric. In fact many people state that they grow tired of it.

Read the full article here.


This blog post has been brought to you by Othmar Vohringer Outdoors


sudheer said...

well that's a pretty good thing. being a firm supporter of animal rights activist i feel that hunting in all forms should be banned.hunting is insane for human beings.moreover it affects balance in nature.

SimplyOutdoors said...

Well the news that hunter numbers are on the decline is definitely bad, but at least it's comforting to know that it isn't because of the anti-hunting rhetoric that's out there.

I'm certainly doing my part to help restore the hunting population - helping friends get into hunting, and taking as many kids as I can hunting - but all hunters need to take heart and do the same thing.

If we don't, hunting could be a thing of the past.

Anonymous said...

Othmar, I sadly agree with this article even though I have seen quite a few hunters this season there still is not as many in years past.
Could it be because of the recession? Could it be because we are not teaching our children so some of them could take over?
I would like to think that if all of us just took the time to mentor one person than maybe sales would pick up.

Oh ya I almost forgot to mention that most of these states need to lower their costs.

Whitetail Woods Blog / Deer Hunting and Blackpowder Shooting at it’s best.

Othmar Vohringer said...

sudheer - I respect your opinion as an animal rights and thank you for being civil, which is not common among your ilk.

Hunting is not that insane when you think about that humans are hunters by nature and one of the reasons why we made it to the top of the food chain is because we are better hunters than the others.

Why should hunting be banned? Because a small handful of people don't like it? If that is the only reason then we pretty soon would have to ban everything because someone doesn't like it what someone else does.

How does hunting affect the balance of nature? This is only true if hunting would be uncontrolled. But here in north America hunting is controlled and moreover it is a wildlife management tool. In fact hunters are the main contributors, financial terms and in volunteering time and work, to wildlife conservation. It's a well established fact that the reason we have diverse and healthy wildlife population is because of hunters and hunting. It's so effective that other nations start to adopt that system. See Kenya as example where hunting is not used as wildlife management tool. Many species are endangered. On the other side South Africa which adopted our system has plentiful of wildlife.


Othmar Vohringer said...

Simply Outdoors - Animal rights had their time in the sun. Fortunately people are not that gullible anymore. The animal rights movement has lost a lot of public support over the last two to three years.


Othmar Vohringer said...

Rick - The cost definitely plays a huge part in the downward spiral. Hunting has become very expensive. I've warned about this trend many years ago and said if this money grab keeps up we soon will have a European system where only the financially well to do can afford to hunt.

Here in BC we too have a lot of new hunters. As a hunter education instructor I just received the numbers of new hunters for this year. We have 687 new hunters here this year alone. However we still over thousand hunters away from what the government wants us to recruit. I told them that the solution to this problem is to make becoming a hunter simpler -less red tape- and to make it cheaper too.

For my hunter class in January I've already 30 people signed up, here in BC we see every year more women -mothers- signing up for hunter ed. class. That is a very good thing because mothers have more influence over the children than fathers.


Swamp Thing said...

Animal rights guy - the animal rights community has shown - repeatedly - that they don't have the heart to actually support wildlife and wildlife habitat. Hunters pay - even for endangered species habitat.

Othmar - I don't think the blame can or should be laid on the youth. If a 12 year old wants to go hunt - where should he go? Where is it safe to go? And where are his parents? Probably working, because our economy has shifted from manufacturing (largely 9-5, M-F) to service (11 hours a day, 7 days a week). Where does a 14 year old get a gun? How can they get themselves to hunter education? Are they even allowed to buy ammo? Who will physically drive them to the local WMA, state forest, or private farm to hunt?

No one.

At some point, the Baby Boomer generation is going to have to take some responsibility for this precipitous decline in hunter recruitment - after all - they reaped all the profit from developing all of that land in the 70s, 80s, and 90s. ONE generation made a lot of money by paving our countryside.

That same generation, largely, was taught how to hunt by their parents, and yet they didn't teach their kids (my generation) how to hunt.

It's a sad day when "It's them dag-gum kids!" can be trotted out as the reason for why "them dag-gum kids" don't hunt.

We can and we must do a better job getting the next generation into the field. The last 40 years was an experience in epic failure at that effort.

Othmar Vohringer said...

Point well taken Swamp Thing. What would you suggest that needs to be done or what could be do better to get kids out?

As a promoter of hunting and hunter education instructor I am about to run out of ideas on how to get kids involved. I am not saying it is the fault of the children, because it is not. Rather it is the parents that do not want or can't spend with the children. Modern technology has in many instances replaced family activities.

Expenses and opportunity are also a factor. Hunting has become a very expensive sport and in many areas access to private land costs money and public land opportunities becoming less.

It is difficult under the current situation to recruit any new hunters, let alone children, at the best of times.


Swamp Thing said...

I think one key is to make sure parents who already hunt (or used to hunt) get active in it again, and take their kids. Some states (in the US) try to subsidize kids' licenses for that reason.

But, as you have mentioned in many of your posts, if half of those kids then decide to hunt, we've still only covered part of the shortfall. And we're stuck with nonhunting parents.

We can make another dent with the "take somebody else's kid hunting" philosophy. But, even if 25% of THOSE kids become hunters, that still doesn't cover the overall shortfall of hunters.

And then that's when you hit the "amazing cost of hunting" brick wall. To first get non-hunting parents hunting will require a huge investment in money and time on their part. A recipe for defeat. And then more investment to get their kids interested. Another recipe for defeat.

Honestly, I think one small savior will be the "local food" movement over the next few years. More and more people with disposable income in their 20s and 30s are looking at hunting as a more "real and true" source for meat. It's really happening.

Yet another positive development is the continual receding of the politically correct / anti-gun movement in the United States. Fewer and fewer people "hate" hunting compared to 15 years ago. Hunting is much more socially acceptable than it was 15 years ago.

And now I, at 36, have a little boy of my own (1 year old). It's time for MY generation to start figuring it out - how can we get more kids outside? And quick. The time for blame is pretty much up.

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