Famed Field and Stream columnist, Bill Heavey, takes a serious look at a serious problem: hunting’s steady decline in America. The latest from his blog, A Sportsman’s Life, has some grim statistics which bode ill for America’s hunting tradition. Read it here.
While it’s true overall hunter numbers have dropped over the last decade, there are some bright spots on the horizon. The biggest hope: women are taking up the challenge at record rates. They are the fastest growing segment in the shooting sports, and where women go, their children often follow, daughters in particular. A good omen for the sport.
The other factor is population movement’s cyclical nature. The last two decades have seen a significant migration from rural areas in the nation’s center to urban areas on the coasts. Not dissimilar from the two major waves following both World Wars. The last great population shift ebbed when baby boomers, fed up with the banal lifestyles in cities and suburbs, went “back to nature” in the 1960s and 70s. A new backlash is gaining momentum as people are again flowing away from the urban to the rural states. It’s not a river yet, but the trend grows every year.
Hunting may face difficult times now, but nothing is permanent. With some effort from hunters to bring new people into our world, things could change around in less than a decade. You are bringing new hunters in, aren’t you? Aren’t you?
Other helpful stories you’ll like:
Bill Heavey’s “A Sportman’s Life”: Waterfowl Hunting
Keep Out! Gating the American West and the Death of the Working Class Hunter