Hunter Numbers, Recruitment, etc.

Runnin_Chupacabra

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Mar 10, 2020
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Central Coast, CA
Not sure about other states but in CA hunting licenses are up 9% from last year. Take it for what you will as stats can be twisted and turned in every which direction. Sounds great but last year could've also been an all time low.

 

SAJ-99

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Jan 5, 2019
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Montana
In my opinion, a lot of it is driven by demographics. The urban population is growing while the rural population is declining. Urban areas are mostly in the east and west coasts so the growth consumes more land that was previously hunt able (urban sprawl). It is easier for the rural population to hunt. For the urban population it has to be "scheduled", which is why western hunting hasn't seen the same decline as more localized stuff in eastern half of country. The hunting license sales tend to move with rural demographic trends, which others have pointed out (slowly declining numbers and aging demographic - chart below is from 2010 and it isn't going to look better for 2020).

The amount of huntable land is declining. We don't need more hunters per se. We need more allies in the fight to preserve public wild places. If they hunt, great, if they don't, that is fine too.

Screen Shot 2020-12-28 at 1.53.50 PM.png
Screen Shot 2020-12-28 at 1.54.18 PM.png
 

shrapnel

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2019, roughly 35,000,000 licenses sold
1999, roughly 33,000,000 licenses sold

This is USFWS data. It doesn't exactly determine the number of actual hunters, just the number of tags, licenses, stamps sold per year.



Who do you believe, an article from Outdoor life says hunter numbers peaked in 1982 and have declined ever since. They site several studies to support this trend.

Certainly hunting is not what it used to be, but I for one, don’t see it as gloomy as many here want to say it is.



“HUNTING
Why We Suck at Recruiting New Hunters, Why It Matters, and How You Can Fix It
Hunter numbers have been dwindling for decades; now the bottom is about to fall out of license-funded conservation. Here’s what went wrong and what you—yes, you—can do about it
By Natalie Krebs
Updated: October 15, 2019
You probably rejoice when you spend an entire day afield without bumping into another hunter. Encountering strangers—especially when they’ve stumbled across your secret spot—spoils the solitude we seek in the outdoors.

So you’d be hard-pressed to find any sportsman or -woman who wants more competition in the woods. Yet, more hunters is precisely what we need right now.

Here’s why: Baby boomers make up our nation’s largest cohort of hunters, and they’ve already begun to age out of the sport. Within 15 years, most will stop buying licenses entirely. And when they do, our ranks could plunge by 30 percent—along with critical funding for wildlife management, advocacy for hunting, and a tradition that’s probably pretty important to you. In other words, the clock is ticking. And unless we act now, we might not recover from the fallout.

Baby Blues
Hunting participation peaked in 1982, when nearly 17 million hunters purchased 28.3 million licenses. Hunter numbers have steadily declined since. We lost 2.2 million hunters between 2011 and 2016 alone, according to the National Survey of Hunting, Fishing, and Wildlife-Associated Recreation, a report issued by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. In 2016, just 11.5 million people hunted. That's less than 4 percent of the national population.”
 

OntarioHunter

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Though it's not an issue here where I live, declining public access has certainly hurt hunting. In Montana that has largely been due to influx of non-resident landowners. The Flathead Valley where I was raised is wrecked with development and transplant game hogs. Bitterroot Valley is much worse. That crap is encroaching on the east side too (thank you Cabelas realtors!). The block management program has helped a lot, especially with legitimate ranchers (not Maryland land developers who decide to play TV Bonanza). I really had to bite my tongue hard when some individuals on here start preaching about how locking land up for outfitters helps the local communities. What bullshit! Block management makes a much bigger positive economic impact. Duh! A couple of rich dudes who show up and MAYBE spend a few bucks at the bar or cafe vs a hundred who are usually compelled to find lodging + meals and buy gas to travel to hunting every day. The rich dudes put a few dollars in the landowners' pockets (where most of it stays) ... but block management will actually pay them more. I was a park ranger in one of those communities and had to attend the local tourism booster club meetings. It never ceased to amaze me how the local merchants bought into that myth of outfitters making them richer. Slowly many of the ranchers who locked up their land for outfitters are discovering block management is more profitable. Still, it appears to me Montana block management acreage is barely holding its own. Damn shame. Fortunately, govt land acquisition seems to be progressing there slowly but surely ... amid a lot of local opposition. Same ranchers who voted for Trump so you connect the dots.
 

nick87

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Dec 12, 2014
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Northern Illinois
Though it's not an issue here where I live, declining public access has certainly hurt hunting. In Montana that has largely been due to influx of non-resident landowners. The Flathead Valley where I was raised is wrecked with development and transplant game hogs. Bitterroot Valley is much worse. That crap is encroaching on the east side too (thank you Cabelas realtors!). The block management program has helped a lot, especially with legitimate ranchers (not Maryland land developers who decide to play TV Bonanza). I really had to bite my tongue hard when some individuals on here start preaching about how locking land up for outfitters helps the local communities. What bullshit! Block management makes a much bigger positive economic impact. Duh! A couple of rich dudes who show up and MAYBE spend a few bucks at the bar or cafe vs a hundred who are usually compelled to find lodging + meals and buy gas to travel to hunting every day. The rich dudes put a few dollars in the landowners' pockets (where most of it stays) ... but block management will actually pay them more. I was a park ranger in one of those communities and had to attend the local tourism booster club meetings. It never ceased to amaze me how the local merchants bought into that myth of outfitters making them richer. Slowly many of the ranchers who locked up their land for outfitters are discovering block management is more profitable. Still, it appears to me Montana block management acreage is barely holding its own. Damn shame. Fortunately, govt land acquisition seems to be progressing there slowly but surely ... amid a lot of local opposition. Same ranchers who voted for Trump so you connect the dots.
Like clock work.
 

magtech

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Feb 2, 2021
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Going through the FWS statistics for MI i see that hunter individuals are about half as 2 decades ago... but total tags sold is double from that time. Makes sense... they're trying to kill the place off.

This, like and human statistic only counts the legal people. I'd say around here 2/3 people get tags the rest practice the S3 shoot shovel and shut up. I bet it was 1/3 got a license back from my childhood.
 
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TheBenHoyle

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Dec 5, 2016
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Illinois
Recruitment is hard. I know of 5 people who are interested in hunting and I am going to try to get them all out next year somehow, but I don't really have a place to take them. I will be cobbling together a few hunts on public and hoping that it all works out with schedules and access. It would be a lot easier if I had my own place to take them or if Illinois had more public land access.
 
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