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The REAL (REASONS) hunting is declining

DK27

Member
Joined
Mar 2, 2019
Messages
60
I could see a "hunting mentor-ship program" type of concept being successful in terms of recruiting and giving new hunters an opportunity to experience and learn about hunting. It could be implemented through major outdoor stores. I say this just from my encounters with my peers. Perhaps more of my peers would get into hunting if they had a way to get their foot in the door so to speak.

I too often wonder how much disconnect there is between food consumers and food producers. As mentioned before, too many people think food comes from grocery stores and not everyone realizes what it actually takes to procure consumable protein. Perhaps this plays a factor because folks don't need to hunt if they are happy with ground meat from Walmart.

In the olden days people had to hunt. So let's get back to our roots and go hunting!
 

Toraj32

New member
Joined
Oct 1, 2020
Messages
4
-Hunting doesn't have to be expensive. We make it expensive. I know a guy who only owns a climber and 3 guns and a cheap bow. He shoots as many nice bucks as I do.
-Lack of land access is a major issue for us eastern hunters. Gusy who live in western states with good access simply dont understand.
- If you hunt your home state hunting is actually VERY affordable. I spend less on a license than I would spend on a steak dinner.
Some folks think they need to look good.
 

Hunt&FishCO

Well-known member
Joined
Nov 5, 2020
Messages
211
(The decline of old breed deer hunters and rise of once a year outiftted trophy hunters) this is going to ruffle a lot of feathers but it has to be said. Hunting is declining in every state except for so called "Western trophy states" there's a lot more people mainly wealthy non residents hunting once a year in places like Montana, Idaho, Colorado, Utah, places like these are seeing a surge in non resident hunters but not residents, yes Idaho is seeing a lot of resident hunters too but that is because it is the fastest growing state and new Idahoans are becoming hunters and good for them. Places like New York, Pennsylvania, Michigan, Maine, Wisconsin, Minnesota west Virginia, and (insert state here) all have declining numbers of residents hunters. Young people are not hunting anymore and the old breed is sadly dying or becoming too old to hunt. I love hearing stories from the older generations and will miss them dearly. So many wealthy older hunters and to a lesser extent wealthy young hunters don't care for hunting their home state and go out to a "trophy state" once a year to hunt. I've met too many older wealthier hunters that just want to talk about antlers or brag about their last out of state hunt with an outfitter I'm very polite so I listen but deep down I'm not too interested, outiftted trophy hunts aren't my thing and Never will be. The other thing that grinds my gears is the elitist attitude of not all not all not all! But some non resident hunters. Everyone remember when Wyoming wanted to restrict non resident hunters in favor of residents and every entitled non resident freaked out. I saw some people online (not on this fourm most people are respectful) write horrible things about Wyoming and their residents. For what? Wanting to favor residents? Like that's some controversial idea. People were calling Wyoming residents Hicks, rednecks, trailer trash, etc it's not cool I'm not even from Wyoming but I have traveled to many rural states and I'll tell ya rural Americans are the nicest people you'll ever meet many will go out if their way to help you. I've been to places with 4 people a square mile and those places have wonderful people for the most part. The disrespect directed at Wyoming residents and other states non residents hunt is unacceptable!

(Hunting is becoming expensive) new guns, bows, crossbows, boots, camo and everything else is super expensive, outdoor TV and social media makes you think you need Sitka gear, Ravin crossbows, and a $5000 custom made long range rifle with a super magnified scope. You don't need any of these I've been hunting just fine with my Walmart camo and whatever is on sale at Cabela's. My military surplus and tractor supply boots work wonders and Walmart rubber boots work great in the spring turkey season when things are wet and muddy. New hunters get the impression they need all these expensive new gear when they don't and can you blame them? It's what they see on TV and Instagram 24/7

(Some older hunters not all, not the majority but some have an "I don't care attitude") some older hunters have expressed satisfaction that there's less hunters and more game than ever the latter is a positive the former is a negative new hunters need to be recruited to keep hunting alive and in turn keep conservation alive. No hunters means no funding for would animals and wild places period. I've seen this same attitude regarding CWD to a lesser extent, some older hunters say "it won't be a problem on my lifetime" and don't care about following CWD regulations and importation guidelines. If you don't care about the longevity of conservation you shouldn't be a hunter period.

(High fence operations) high fence operations not only give hunters a bad name but are one of the most common ways CWD is spread. High fence operations brought deer and elk with CWD from the west to the east and now most state have CWD. High fence operations trash the image of hunters while playing pretend hunter and make hunters look like a bunch of idiots trying to shoot animals with huge unrealistic cartoon caricature antlers. I've seen people refer to high fence shooters as hunters and it disgusts me, so many people think hunting is shooting a deer that was someone's pet behind a fence and that is detrimental to our community and anti hunters frame hunters as high fence shooters.

There's a million and one more reasons why hunting is dying but I feel these are the most detrimental. We can turn things around by promoting the good image of hunters that most of us are and most importantly recruiting young people, mentor your nephew, niece, son or young family friend and teach them how to hunt, recruiting young people is the forefront of this battle and it is everyone of our responsibilities to recruit other hunters and promote hunting in a positive light
@Elk Bugler

1. Lack of Access - Spot on, it’s a huge deterrent. Hobbies are also about convenience, and when it takes 1+ hr to get to huntable public land most people will just do something else with a spare day

2. Social Media / trolls / cyber bullies - IMHO, a non-issue. Forums have always been a positive experience for me personally. Have you ever come across this in a Randy YT video comments section?

3. Video Games / TV - Marginal issue, sets unrealistic expectations but it’s not a deterrent.

4. Decline of Rural America - If anything modern technology and remote working has made a mini renaissance for rural America.

5. Decline of the old breed, rise of once a year hunter - This is a symptom and not a cause, If it takes me 8hrs RT to get to pheasant / elk / deer hunting areas there’s only so many times that I’ve got a window of time to do that.

6. Expensive - I agree!

7. I don’t care attitude amongst the older generation - I agree to an extent. There’s a dis-incentive to have competition but it’s short sited for the long haul of the sport.

8. High Fence - Capitalism, it’s created a business opportunity.

I’m 30-ish so maybe we have a different lense that we see the world through, nobody hunted/hunts in my family and I got into this sport all on my own at age 14. That being said, I’m doing my best to be an ambassador to our sport and the great outdoors in general. I’ve taken nephews hunting, will be taking my wife and daughter hunting for the first time next week, give out fresh meat to non-hunter neighbors & friends, and try to be as friendly as possible to everyone I interact with in the field. I encourage you to be the person you wish you’d had introduce you to the sport - that’s how we keep this carrying on (and growing) in the future.
 

lynlan1819

Active member
Joined
May 27, 2019
Messages
117
Nasty attitudes and remarks by some hunters and gun owners even on this site, make a bad impression on people looking to get into hunting.
 

ElkFever2

Well-known member
Joined
Mar 4, 2019
Messages
4,113
Location
Iowa
@Elk Bugler

1. Lack of Access - Spot on, it’s a huge deterrent. Hobbies are also about convenience, and when it takes 1+ hr to get to huntable public land most people will just do something else with a spare day

2. Social Media / trolls / cyber bullies - IMHO, a non-issue. Forums have always been a positive experience for me personally. Have you ever come across this in a Randy YT video comments section?

3. Video Games / TV - Marginal issue, sets unrealistic expectations but it’s not a deterrent.

4. Decline of Rural America - If anything modern technology and remote working has made a mini renaissance for rural America.

5. Decline of the old breed, rise of once a year hunter - This is a symptom and not a cause, If it takes me 8hrs RT to get to pheasant / elk / deer hunting areas there’s only so many times that I’ve got a window of time to do that.

6. Expensive - I agree!

7. I don’t care attitude amongst the older generation - I agree to an extent. There’s a dis-incentive to have competition but it’s short sited for the long haul of the sport.

8. High Fence - Capitalism, it’s created a business opportunity.

I’m 30-ish so maybe we have a different lense that we see the world through, nobody hunted/hunts in my family and I got into this sport all on my own at age 14. That being said, I’m doing my best to be an ambassador to our sport and the great outdoors in general. I’ve taken nephews hunting, will be taking my wife and daughter hunting for the first time next week, give out fresh meat to non-hunter neighbors & friends, and try to be as friendly as possible to everyone I interact with in the field. I encourage you to be the person you wish you’d had introduce you to the sport - that’s how we keep this carrying on (and growing) in the future.
EB hasn’t been around for awhile. He might be off hunting whitetail bucks blindfolded or something
 

Hunt&FishCO

Well-known member
Joined
Nov 5, 2020
Messages
211
Nasty attitudes and remarks by some hunters and gun owners even on this site, make a bad impression on people looking to get into hunting.
I’ve found that I’ve had better interactions at local public shooting ranges. Some private ranges can be intimidating.
 

Benfromalbuquerque

Well-known member
Joined
Jul 15, 2020
Messages
508
Stigmas and preconceived notions about hunters are a drag on our lifestyle. Zoom out, consider a non-biased objective observer who comes across a hunter. This person is of any race, sex, socioeconomic level or education. They have a problem like a flat tire or slid off into a snow drift. There’s an opportunity right there. Yeah, we’ll miss being in the woods before sun up, yet show compassion to someone in need and they won’t forget it.
 

HONEYBADGER

Well-known member
Joined
Aug 24, 2013
Messages
517
Alright, I'm going to preface this by saying if you're easily offended don't read this.

Hunting has been in decline since the 1980's and 1990's depending on what state you live in. While there's probably thousands of reasons I'm going to detail the biggest issues I think hunting in this country faces in terms of the decline of hunting. For some background on me I'm 19 and have been hunting since I've been 15. I'm one of the "New Breed" that is sadly exceedingly rare. I've met a grand total of 3 youngsters in my 4 years hunting public land. I didn't shoot my first buck after following a pair of fresh tracks in the snow for a mile, walking quietly behind my grandfather and uncle (although I wish I could've) and I didn't shoot my first buck after applying for years to a "trophy unit" from a wealthy home in the suburbs. My first buck was taken on a small tract of private land on an unseasonably hot opening day of archery season. I couldn't have been more proud of myself I made a great lung/liver shot and he was down about 25 yards away from me. My first buck was a velvet 3 pointer and I couldn't have been more proud. I hunt both this small tract of private land and a variety of local public lands. My proudest hunting moment was last season when I took a beautiful fat public land doe on a very highly pressured property (probably the most pressured in the state and at least in the county) everything I have learned from hunting has been from the internet, YouTube, my own scouting, trial and error, and from one family friend to a much lesser extent my point is my experience definitely isn't typical and it's a miracle that I even started hunting in the first place. My interest in hunting started when I thought it would be a fun experience to go turkey hunting, so I did and this later evolved in a passion for deer hunting and I've been hooked ever since. I've been fortunate to harvest 4 deer in my 4 years of hunting and am happy to have a freezer full of meat that I spent hours brwaking down and processing myself. It feels good to have a connection to my food, it's healthier and great to know where it comes from.

So enough about me here are the reasons that I personally believe are most detrimental to the hunting community.

(Lack of access to land/perceived lack of access to land.) While it is very true that the days of knocking on a door and asking a member of your community if you can hunt his land is pretty much over, the small property owners don't want people on their property for liability reasons or percived liability reasons and all the large property owners either lease their land to a wealthy individual, a club with a ridiculous membership fee (I'm talking $1000 plus a year) or even hunting product companies to film shows on. And before people start saying that I'm bashing rich people and large companies I'm not and if you can pay 5 grand a year to lease a big property good for you but just know by doing so you're taking away opportunities from other people to hunt the same property. 20 people probably hunted farmer Ed's 1000 acres before it was leased in exchange for help and other favors. Not blaming anybody it's just reality. The next part of this equation is public land. While there is less public land than there was 10 years ago and even less than there was 20 years ago there's still plenty of public land in this country to hunt. (With few exceptions). My heart does go out to those in places like Iowa or Mississippi where there is next to no public land, however there is still some public land to hunt, but in most states access to public land is not as much of an issue as people make it out to be. And yes I'm guilty of exaggerating how hard it is to hunt public land as much as the next guy, however I don't do this anymore because this discourages going people like myself. When I was in high school I was one of the only people to hunt public land if not the only one, the other kids thought public land wasn't worth the time and that is problematic because once these kids graduate and move away, or go to college in another state they're going to stop hunting because they believe public land isn't worth it. There are a few states with very little public land but they are the exception most states have plenty of state forests, parks, national forests, wildlife management areas and a litany of other land open to hunting. We in the United States are blessed with so many millions of acres of public land to recreate on and this makes us unique to the rest of the world (yes I know Canada has similar "crown land"). Public land hunting can be hard and it is definitely harder than private land and there is definitely no comparison to a 1000 acre Illinois "trophy buck" lease, however not all is lost. I used to be one of those people who thought "hunting public land is impossible" and "not worth the effort" but this didn't stop me from trying harder each time. There are a litany of studies that show the vast majority of hunters will not venture more than a 1/3 of a mile from the road. What does this mean? The vast majority of public land especially the big tracts are relatively free from hunting pressure or face light pressure. Studies have also disproven the myth that "all public land deer migrate to private land during deer season" this is not even close to being true, whitetail deer are loyal to their range and simply move deeper into less pressured parts of public land with thicker cover when the pressure gets high. If you put in the work and venture deep into public land you will most likely be successful and I know this first hand. When I hunt public (which is what I hunt most) I go at least a mile in and that is why I'm much more successful than the other guys that set up near the parking lot. My point is if you put in the work you will be successful! This doesn't just pertain to hunting it pertains to everything in life, you don't get far unless you work hard.

(The social media hunters, the online trolls, and cyber bullies) I'm grouping all of these groups together because they have the same effect on young hunters for the most part. Everybody knows the kind of "hunter" I'm talking about, the trust fund kid who acts hyper masculine to compensate for his insecurity and thinks he's all that because daddy gave him money to shoot a 180 inch outfitted land buck or even worse a high fence pet and then brags on social media about it and shames other people often times teens and younger for shooting a doe or young buck. This behavior is detrimental and absolutely needs to stop we need to recruit teenagers and young kids into the hunting community and it doesn't matter if you shoot a doe, spike, monster buck, or an average buck, if you're out there having fun and contributing to conservation it doesn't matter what kind of deer you shoot as long as you follow all the regulations. There are great social media hunters out there that do wonders for the hunting community, however if you go in Instagram and see "trophy bucks" and "trophy elk" all day it gives young hunters unrealistic expectations which is also negative. It's just like teenagers being insecure because everyone on Instagram is a super model or body builder. Anti hunters, trolls, and cyber bullies have the same effect on young hunters as the (bad) social media hunters (and they're fans that shame hunters) they shame hunters for being ethical hunters just because they didn't shoot that 1/100 monster buck. Teenagers and young people live on social media and if they are shamed for being hunters it's a driving factor to stop hunting or more likely never even start hunting all together.

(Video games and Tv) this is pretty straight forward, we live in an instant gratification culture and TV and video games provide just that. It's scientifically proven that playing video games produces pleasure in our brains, most young people these days are so addicted to video games it's like a drug to them. Why sit in a treestand on a hot day or track deer through the snow in 10 degrees and probably not even bring a deer home when you can play video games all day with no effort involved and have a lot of fun.

(Decline of rural America and increase in urbanization and suburbanization) more Americans are moving to major cities or metro areas and suburbs and not having a chance to even go hiking let alone hunting or fishing in the city, hunters for the most part are looked upon and seen as a bunch of "gun toting rednecks) or some other ignorant slur. Ironically from my experience the hunters I have met who traveled from the city to where I live to hunt have all been immigrants from Communist Asian or former Soviet republics for them I think it has something to do with the feeling of freedom hunting gives you but I digress. Urbanization is killing young hunter's opportunities before they even start.

Its not declining...there is more demand than ever. Every year, every western state sets a new record for tag apps...its crazy.
 

Shangobango

Well-known member
Joined
Aug 5, 2019
Messages
1,657
Location
Louisiana
This one is kinda old but…

The amount of youngsters that are out on public land must vary greatly region to region or state to state because it seems like every high school and college kid for miles around hits the woods around here chasing squirells and ducks, and to a lesser extent deer.

Around here on public land it seems like females and minorities are the only folks that are under represented cause all us white boys are out in full force regardless of age.

My .02.
 

Akcabin

Well-known member
Joined
Jul 11, 2021
Messages
344
I read through 11 pages of comments. On a thread from a young man who has hunted for 4 years or so. And thinks that by capitalizing the word real it is like more real or trying to show he knows more or something. I'm not sure. I kinda took it with a gain of salt n told myself heck at least he's trying to be informed.
Lots of folks who saw " hunters" . Hyphenated, I guess that means that they really aren't hunters or are indicating that they are somehow different than I was when I first started hunting. I learned most of my stuff error n trial. Shot at every twenty bird I saw when I was a kid. And still remember a few embarrassing moments. Glad folks took the time to coach my enthusiasm.
Hey I'm guilty as the rest when getting fed up n try to carve out my own spot. I should probably take more time to stop n offer advice to folks.
My best advice. Go back to the days when there were 500% less government. More government has never solved problems. We start with something simple like voluntary hunter safety n gun safety for folks who want to learn more. Well there's
" hunters " out there . Better make learning about guns n hunting mandatory by law. What using a bow you say. Better make a law you have to go to prove you meet the government mandated safety laws. What using bait ? Need more laws.
What you want to hunt a goat or bear or sheep or , it's coming, well you might get hurt. You need to hire a government licensed guide. Who many times doesn't live in that state. What not enough guides because when the folks who want to go goat or sheep or bear hunting saw other guides n their outdoor experience wasn't what they wanted it to be so we need to make laws that limit the free market. We need guide concession laws. So that there guides can make a living doing only guide stuff so there are enough guides. What lobbying government to protect the rights of nonresident hunters so they don't have a bad experience costs money. Better make it so everyone has to pay a few hundred bucks to the guide union.
I took my son to Wisconsin to go white tail hunting like I did with my dad. I couldn't pay $ 350 bucks to harvest a deer. Because he was out of state n didn't have a Wisconsin hunter safety piece of paper. Kid has spent his life in the woods n was his ol man who grew up in WI. Man I was bummed.
I could keep going but we get the drift.
We're doing this to ourselves folks. All of us could do better. And when I see a kid or adult who wants to learn more. He gets berated or when after sitting on the sidelines they finally are willing to take that leap we've all had to take. And screws up. Just learned what not to do. Sometimes even a WHAT NOT to do. There gone. And probably even more complicated for women.
Yeppers this got kinda long. And I haven't got to near as many laws we have yet.
Go back to the law books, maybe back to us current ol folks day n age. We're probably more willing have the time n patience. But get government out of the way. Government that costs sooooo much that folks can't afford to. Because it costs to much. How many of us have heard " you need hire a lawyer to understand the game laws that differ from pond to pond.
I understand that folks want to help. And legislators who make the laws because they want to support our outdoors heritage. And who support the outdoors folks but haven't been in the bush in centuries if even ever. But mostly want your vote.
If you want to hunt game that government requires you to hire a guide that has make a living so he can guide you can have a pleasurable experience. Starting prices are $25,000. Not including paying extra if you are successful. Add another 10 grand. Not the guides falt it costs this much for all the government b s .
Lots of experienced hunters out there that would love the opportunity to bring their family n friends n harvest the over populated bears n such. Or just go moose hunting but can't afford it. Too bad. They would put a lot of money into our local area. And now government pays for professional shooters in helicopters to kill animals at great costs to us.. government got greedy n needed more money to keep track of every fish you catch or bear you shoot that takes time for the guide or the government fines them 10 grand if they are over 7 days late that the government is 4 years back from current dates so they need to raise the price . Now it's way over priced it for the average guy.
I understand the North American model. Best law ever. But I try to think back to the days of my growing up. Go sell some returnable bottles n buy a box of shorts for 50 cents. Go shoot some squirrels or partridge for mom. Went to volunteer hunting safety as soon as I could because I wanted to learn more. And I did.
We're doing it to ourselves. We are the real reason
 
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