Across the country the number of hunters continues to decline. If trend continues at its present rate wildlife conservation will dramatically suffer due to the lack of funding via hunting license purchases. No other outdoor user group as stepped up to the plate to willingly pay the fees and taxes required to maintain wildlife populations. If think this is wrong thinking feel free to comment.
As hunters we continually contemplate reasons why this hunter decline is happening:
- Historically hunter numbers ebb and flow peaking about every other generation. So perhaps this current decline is part of that natural ebb and flow.
- Modern education is demeaning and derogatory when it comes to man’s role in the natural evolution of development.
- The technological advances have made would be hunters more comfortable in their homes so the incentive to go and spend extended periods of time in inclement weather without all conveniences of modern life.
- Hunter population is aging and quitting for health reasons.
- Fractured families and the increase in single female parenthood households are not conducive to introducing kids to hunting.
- There are too many other entertainment distractions that are more fun than hunting.
Distractions, hmm.. Who is getting distracted? The potential young new hunter?
Or is it us old-timers?
How could that possibly be so? “I love hunting and love to share it with beginners.” OK I understand, but hang with me a minute.
Many of us old-timers or experienced hunters if you prefer, jump at the chance to introduce kids to hunting. After all isn’t that what WI learn to hunt program and all special youth hunts are all about? Well, yes, that is the intention of these programs. But there are times I will hear a father comment about taking the kid out on the youth hunt, get them their deer or turkey and then “I” get to “really” hunt. Responsibility discharged. Of course not all verbalize it this way.
Thinking back on my introduction to hunting I realize there is more to it than that.
Where are the stories told anymore? Adults have a lot of things going on, we get tired and on those occasions when our adult children come to visit with the grandkids do we mostly talk to the kids or our adult kids? Hey, I miss my kids so I talk to them along with the grandkids but not as much. My 9 year old grandson on his last visit said he was “going to play because adult talk is boring.” This raised no eyebrows, pretty normal, kids like to play. Something about this comment stuck with me and when that happens I reflect.
After arising before the sun I was enjoying a quiet moment reading an old book of hunting stories, when my grandson’s words popped into my head. It hit me then. Many of today’s hunting books and articles are how to, or if they make an attempt at a story it is a description of the kill with plugs for the latest products used to make the kill and you must have these if you too want to be successful. Uff.
Do we tell the stories any more? The stories of hunts successful or not sets off sparks of desire, they did for me as a young lad. Those recounted tales of the hunt sparks ignited all that dry rambuncous tinder into a raging fire of desire to hunt.