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Old June 16, 2007, 04:59 PM   #1
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Decline in hunting and fishing?

This article in Newsweek (by way of MSNBC) describes a survey showing a substantial decline in the numbers of hunters and fisherman over the last 5 years.

It disturbs me a bit, but I can't say that it surprises me. In my neck of the woods, that amount of accessible hunting land continues to decline. When I was a kid, 20 miles outside of downtown was considered "out in the country." Today, 50 miles outside of downtown is thought of as being "in the suburbs."

I've also noticed much less interest in taking up the hunting and fishing sports by younger people than showed interest in it when I was a kid. I've always enjoyed my time with God and nature by sitting silently in a forest with my .22 waiting for a bushy-tail, or in a duck blind waiting for that big drake to get within range. I didn't need an iPod to have a good time.

Oh well, pardon me for waxing nostalgic here. It's just that this kind of brings a tear to my eye...
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Old June 16, 2007, 05:12 PM   #2
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It's sad to see the survey results, but not too surprising. The amount of accessable land certainly is a factor. I think the 'demonizing' of hunting by PETA and the use of guns by the 'antis' is also a significant factor.

The IPods and Gameboys seem to be much more interesting to the youth of America than a .22 or a casting rod.

Too bad....they'll never know what they're missing.
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Old June 16, 2007, 10:37 PM   #3
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Seen in Houston

Texas Parks and Wildlife has a billboard posted over the freeways down here that I just love.

It is just a photo of a fishing rod and reel, with the caption, (are you ready?)
"Hand-held interactive gaming device."

The Second Amendment - America's ORIGINAL Homeland Security
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Old June 18, 2007, 12:19 AM   #4
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Newbie Hunter

Until last year, I had never hunted anything other than other men when I was in The Corps. When an old friend with whom I shoot target asked if i wanted to learn to hunt, I was in! When I went for my hunter safety course and said I was a first time hunter, I was swarmed by the Fish and Game guys! What a welcome! Unfortunately, we are both newbie hunters and learned for our first season by reading magazine articles and books, patrolling on-line forums, pestering hunters we both knew (who gladly shared all the information they could, bless them!) and making frequent forays to Cabela's in Hamburg, PA.

First season, NJ shotgun, no deer. Only saw one, last day of the season, running into the safety zone. Never give up! This year we're going to do NJ shotgun and NY rifle with the addition of more days in new zones. I wish I could've/would've learned from older relatives who hunted but there were none available. I can't even get my nephews interested in shooting! Too busy with the iPod and GameBoy.

I won't stop. Even empty handed and cold, it was a great season. I just bought my wife a Rem 870 Express 20 gauge.
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Old June 18, 2007, 12:59 AM   #5
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Unfortunately in Texas 99% of all land is privately owned and the landowners want $$$ for hunting rights. I'm a capitalist through and through, but this is the one part about it that I hate (because I can't afford it.)

I have been lucky enough to have access through friends and family, but one day that will cease, and I simply won't be able to hunt anymore. But that's life.
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Old June 18, 2007, 01:15 AM   #6
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Hunt with your kids, not for them!!
"Allons" Blackhorse Troopers !
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Old June 18, 2007, 09:59 AM   #7
Art Eatman
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A change in Texas has been from leasing an entire ranch for the whole season to charging "by the deer". And, a lot more short-term guided hunts.

A buddy of mine has a 4,800-acre ranch over on the Pecos River. He told me that by leasing by the week to separate groups (4 to 5 hunters in a group), he takes in some $40K per year.

Lotsa buying of "hobby ranches", where outsiders no longer can hunt...

You're from BATFE? Come right in! I use all your fine products!
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Old June 18, 2007, 10:33 AM   #8
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I believe part of the short term decline is because of the increase in license fees. It is much like social security taxes, less people contributing and you have higher tax rate to sport the program.

Access to hunting lands is also a huge problem for many. You drive through an area and see mile after mile of undeveloped to semi-developed land and you would think all it would take is finding out who the owner is and getting permission to hunt. Not so.... often it's get your wallet out. This will eventually destroy the sport for the common man except in states that have abundant public lands to hunt in. Those lands are frequently over hunted too.
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Old June 18, 2007, 11:01 AM   #9
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In 1960, I could walk to the end of the block, step across the fence, hunt for a couple of hours with my $25.00 22 Remington, and my 75 cent Long Rifle bullets, and come home with 5 or 6 squirrels for the pot.

Now, the closest place to hunt is $10.00 worth of gas to get to, with a $175.00 22 and my $1.50 a box bullets. I can still come home with 5 or 6 squirrels, but it sure seems like it took a lot of the fun out of it, when the price went up.

I can't gripe to loud since I live in Oklahoma, where you can at least go hunting on public land somewhere without a whole lot of trouble. My heart goes out to the guys who live in the "Hunter freindly states like California or New York"
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Old June 18, 2007, 03:13 PM   #10
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Way too many hunters and fishermen here in NE Florida. Hunting areas are only a little more crowded, but you pretty much can't get a parking space at any of the public boat ramps unless you are there at daylight.

But yall are right about the RAPID decline of places to hunt. Developers (I hate them) are bulldozing woods at record rates around here to put up subdivision after subdivision just as fast as they can.
America is at that awkward stage. It's too late to work within the system, but too early to shoot the bastards. Claire Wolfe
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Old June 18, 2007, 08:51 PM   #11
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My heart goes out to the guys who live in the "Hunter freindly states like California or New York"
Take some time and actually look at a map of the state of New York please. Maybe tell a friend while you are at it.
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Old June 18, 2007, 10:29 PM   #12
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Right on CCNY! I too exist in the adopted state of Clintonia. All one needs to peruse is THE NEW YORK GAZETEER and take a look at all the state forests, game mgmt. areas, hiking trails through wilderness areas,etc. I HAVE noticed a decline in the number of hunters in recent years however. The deer and other fauna are still here to be stalked, but fewer stalkers. I have my special haunts and favorite hunting areas, and I see game every time I go. The red treerats are overrunning the greys, and songdogs are everywhere. I wish the neighboring counties would all allow rifle hunting instead of limiting us to slug guns and pistols. Some are coming around to the change, but I was told by DEC officers that the county decides to allow rifles or not. I think they're in bed with the firearm and ammo mfgs. to sell rifled slug barrels and those rediculous $3.00 a shot sabot slugs! I could have hammered two beautiful songdogs this past fall, but 150 yards is a bit far for my smoothbore pumpkin roller. The 243 could have handled the chore quite well. Maybe see you at the gunshow, who knows?
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Old June 18, 2007, 10:34 PM   #13
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These declines have been happening for decades. In this state (NC) the average age of hunters has been increasing over the past 2-3 decades.
There's plenty of public access here (NC) but based on my experience here and in TX I'd take TX and pay for a day or weekend hunt any day.

My experience is as follows:
In NC there’s plenty of public land but it’s in pockets (big ones and small ones) and the easier it is to access the higher density of hunters you’ll run into. The Yahoo factor is high. There are a couple of places I consider too dangerous to hunt. You can dodge the Yahoos and still hunt public but you’ll have to make a significant investment in a better than average 4WD to get to it. Be prepared to drive and spend bucks and time scouting and plenty of it if you don't happen to live on top of a Game Land. Be prepared to occasionally have your hunting and scouting efforts dashed when that really great place you found turns out to have 10 people hunting it every time you try. If you go private the opportunities exist, some of the animals are stupendous but those properties are seriously locked up by hunt clubs and getting “in” is sometimes a heck of a lot more difficult than just having a lot of dollars to spend. We just had a poll on Sunday hunting and supposedly the “hunters” that responded to the poll voted against it. IMO your license dollars buy less here than other places. I guess I would rank SC and GA about the same to the extent I've hunted there.

In TX there’s plenty of private land you can get access to by calling the chamber of commerce in this or that county to see what’s available. Will you send $, absolutely, but a dang sight less of it than exploiting the public-land thing. Not every place in TX uses the same price list as the King Ranch. 4WD may not even be required. I never had one. Yahoo factor in TX was always 0 to very low in my experience (land owners will run them off) and the land owners were glad to have you come and hunt. Also, better chance of bagging what you’re looking for. In TX hunting goes on 7 days a week.

Just saying the decline in hunting is linked to private vs. public land use practices/access is not the complete answer but in another decade or so I think big game hunting will be a thing of the past in many east coast states. In this state where hunters had a chance to add days to the hunting season they voted it down yet my hunting friends here wonder why the sport is retracting as time goes on. In my local area, which I always considered 20 years away from development, they can’t bulldoze the woods fast enough to build new 100 home developments and the new developments block access to some very large tracks of huntable land.

The level of development, perception by the non-hunting public, decrease in the number of hunters and (IMO) the fact most states focus their efforts on enforcement more than increasing the quality of the resource will all work together to clobber big game hunting in the East. Pockets of small game and wing shooting may be able to hang on. BGH could go on forever out west but it may end up being either the sport of the very well heeled or, if the number of peps willing to send the time and money required “just to get there in the 1st place” decline too much it just may come to pretty much nothing but population control carried out by the locals (like TX hog hunting).

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Old June 18, 2007, 11:30 PM   #14
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Acess to land is no problem in my area. Most people own at least 100-200 acres of woodland in their backyards. I think the decline in hunting is due to a variety of factors. Since almost no one here uses tags or has a license while hunting, those aren't the problems. (Yes, I know it is illegal, but many people do it.)
Personally, I don't hunt often. I believe that hunting is a skill that you need to know, but I don't see any sport in killing an animal just to add another notch to your belt or out do your neighbour's trophy buck score, like some neighbours I have.They just help PETA's cause.
There are several "sportsmen" that have been featured in magazines for their ridiculously high number of kills. One man in the north east killed 13,000 foxes in a year.:barf: Another has killed around 3,000 deer in his life. People that kill for the sake of killing should not be regarded as hunters, but, unfortunatly, the public percieves them as representing hunters overall. If hunters are believed to be macho people who get a kick out of killing, then less people will be interested. Something must be done to reverse that trend before hunters go "extinct".
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