View Full Version : American hunter is a vanishing breed
October 22, 2007, 10:46 PM
I thought this was interesting.....hope you do to. Thanks:)
Any opinions??? :D
October 22, 2007, 10:51 PM
Well, I can only say I try to do my part in having myself hunt and fish and shoot as much as possible, brought my soon-to-be wife into the sports as well, and will have our kids and anyone else we know who wants to along for the ride as well.
October 22, 2007, 10:57 PM
I guess I forgot the article! Here you go!
States that rely on tens of millions of dollars in hunting license fees annually to pay for environmental conservation are trying to boost a population they had never thought of protecting — the endangered American hunter.
The number of hunters has slid from a peak of 19.1 million in 1975 to 12.5 million last year, according to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
With that drop has come worries that states won't be able to pay for the rising costs of conservation efforts and acquisition of open space.
States generated $724 million last year through hunting licenses and fees for wildlife management and conservation; taxes on guns and ammunition added another $267 million, according to the Fish and Wildlife Service.
"Sportsmen pay the bills, especially east of the Mississippi," says Rob Sexton, vice president for government affairs at the U.S. Sportsmen's Alliance, a hunters advocacy group in Columbus, Ohio. "A vast majority of the public land where people go for walks, wildlife viewing or mountain biking, the vast majority is bought by sportsmen."
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To stem the loss, states have been altering hunting laws to get people into the woods.
Since 2004, 18 states have changed their laws to loosen restrictions on when children can hunt with parents, and to allow novice adult hunters to try hunting without a license, says Sexton. The effort has shown signs of working, Sexton says: The states have seen an additional 35,000 people apply for hunting licenses since 2004.
The decrease in hunters appears to be a result of modern living, says Nicholas Throckmorton, Fish and Wildlife Service spokesman. He says fewer Americans hunt because they're spending more time on work and organized sports for their children. Most Americans now live farther from wildlife areas than in the past, says Throckmorton, whose agency conducts a national survey of Americans' outdoor activities every five years.
Officials are changing state laws because they are "trying to tear down the barrier for recruitment of new hunters," Throckmorton says.
Mark Damian Duda, executive director of Responsive Management, a research firm focusing on outdoor recreation, says the modest increase in the hunter population has been good news. But he says the vanishing hunters are "a long-term concern."
"At some point, there's going to be less dollars if current trends continue," Duda says. "Is it a good thing for fewer and fewer people to be funding all wildlife conservation … protecting national resources enjoyed by 97% of the people?"
Among steps being taken:
• Kentucky allows new hunters to hunt for a year with a legal hunter before taking a hunter-safety course. Since July, 1,159 new permits have been issued.
• Oregon's Mentored Youth Hunter Program allows unlicensed children 9 to 13 to receive one-on-one hunting experience and training.
• Arizona implemented an online hunter-safety course that can be completed in three hours, instead of the standard 16. Big game, such as deer, are reserved for hunters 10 and up.
Thad Musser, 33, who bought a deer-hunting bow at B&B Archery Pro Shop in Manassas, Va., last week, says changing the hunting age in Virginia, now 12, would not lure more hunters; they'd merely start younger. His 4-year-old nephew wants to hunt now, and will still want to in seven years, he says.
Larry Ralph, 16, of Gainesville, Va., who started hunting at 13, says it was the rite of passage — his father "passed on the 30-30 (rifle) to me" — that spurred his interest. "I guess the younger the better."
More hunters also help states save money on certain expenditures, like those linked to damage by foragers that are too plentiful, such as the Canada goose and whitetail deer.
"Rather than paying professional hunters to cull the herd, sportsmen would be happy to pay a fee to do it themselves," Sexton says.
Not everyone is convinced that the focus on hunter retention is the way to go.
"The number of people who hunt has declined in recent decades and the number of people who enjoy wildlife in other ways, like wildlife watching or bird-watching, continues to expand," says Michael Markarian, executive vice president of the Humane Society of the United States. "Efforts to reverse these trends are futile."
Rachel Brittin, spokeswoman for the Association of Fish & Wildlife Agencies, says hunters are a great source of revenue, but they can't do it alone.
U.S. wildlife is threatened by more issues than ever: increasing urbanization, invasive species, climate change and new diseases. States receive $1.5 billion a year but need an additional $1 billion annually to accomplish goals, Brittin says.
Efforts to raise enough elsewhere have failed, says Dave Chadwick of the Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies.
Lawmakers came up with a plan to buy land with $350 million a year in offshore oil and gas revenue, he says. Environmental groups squawked about taking money from the oil and gas industry, and property rights advocates balked at the land acquisitions, Chadwick says. The effort died in 2000.
October 22, 2007, 11:14 PM
While I hear that hunting and fishing is down, I notice that when I go fishing there are still a good bunch of people all around the water line. And when bow season is in, theres always a pickup truck or rather trucks in the woods.
so while I hear there are less woods men, I still see plenty
Wild Bill Bucks
October 23, 2007, 09:36 AM
Even though there are less hunters, here in Oklahoma, they still managed to harvest 17,427 Bucks, and 9,572 Does in 2006 during Muzzle loading season.
If there is less of us out here in Oklahoma, I sure haven't noticed it. Seems like every opening morning, when the sun comes up, it looks like the woods is on fire, with all the Blaze Orange in the trees.:D
October 23, 2007, 10:05 AM
the county in N.C. I live in borders 2 S.C. countys (Greenvile and Pickens) in last 48 hours in these 3 countys 5 deer-motor vehicle collisions with seriuos injury in 3 of them to driver/passengers. areas of Goergia are even worse for frequency of this type accident.
October 23, 2007, 10:54 AM
Someone who understands statistics (that would NOT be me) could do an analysis of available hunting land and number of hunters. That might be interesting, or not...
Last year, when me and my buddy did not get drawn for eastern Oregon mule deer, we bought over the counter western Oregon blacktail tags (rifle season). We had hunted west side a lot in the early 90's. Imagine our surprise when most of the areas we used to hunt were all posted and gated. These were big timber company tracts of land. I can understand trying to keep the illegal dumpers out, but if I am willing to park at the gate and walk in, what is the problem?
Honestly, those same lands might have always been owned by timber companies, but they were never gated and posted back in the day.
And, yes, I do know that Oregon has a wealth of public land still that would make a lot of states jealous. But that might explain why we still see more hunters now.
October 23, 2007, 11:41 AM
Yes, a lot of the timber company lands are now tougher to access if at all. I heard this past year that one company was actually selling permits which you had to have on person if hunting the land. I don't actually have verification of this but it would almost be the same as a land lease I guess.
My main perception of the hunt is that it is going to get tougher because of state budgets, not just from the acquisition of additional land but also the closing of many access roads that can't be maintained any longer. I guess I will need to learn to ride a horse.
October 23, 2007, 12:18 PM
45 - The increase in deer/vehicle collisions is just going to get worse. In eastern MD, like between Baltimore and DC, the deer population has just exploded. The problem is there is nowhere to hunt, unless you hang a treestand in your own backyard (and the neighbors don't report you to the cops....)
October 23, 2007, 03:44 PM
Most of it has to do w/ expense. It has gotten really cost prohibitive, esepecially in areas that don't have public land, like TX. You have to get a lease, which a cheapy will cost you a min. of $1000.00/year per person. The good ones are $2500-$5000 or more. And a lot don't alow kids/family which is a shame. then you get all these High fences which really chaps my back end to no ammends...:mad::mad:
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