I think the decline in hunting is due to several factors. First being laziness. Let me explain. When I grew up we were pretty stretched out. So, we didn’t have a lot of alternate entertainment besides what we found outdoors. The difference now is parents use technology to parent. It’s easier to stuff a game or cell phone in a kids hands versus taking them for a hike, play catch, go fishing, etc...... And the results of such living are becoming apparent.
I also blame dads for not taking their kids camping, fishing, scouting, and hunting when it becomes time to do so. They have already given them alternate entertainment. So, naturally a kid that is not used to the elements will pick a couch and an electronic device over the dirt and sometimes discomfort of the outdoors.
I also am certain that access has hurt huntings future. It’s bad when no one has a place to go for after school hunts. Today’s youth are covered up in sports and alternate school sanctioned sports. It’s crazy. And moms and dads seem to think that little junior should participate in them all if he wants. That leaves little time for hunting and fishing. It also ensures Dad doesn’t drop $20/acre for a lease to take his son or daughter hunting for 6 hours a year.
It’s a lot of things depending on the situation. But, the one constant us the time Dad puts into getting their kids exposed to the outdoors. Limit their techno time. Take and make them apart of your outdoor life at a young age. Put some fun in it. And make sure they have the same prep and ability to live the outdoors life as much as they do their phone, and it’ll work out in the end. Good luck and God Bless
Success will be the most important factor in getting them hooked early on. Whether that’s by bow, rifle, shotgun, crossbow. Anything. Get them going young!!
I got my kids involved early and they strayed away from outdoor activities. It wasn’t until their late twenties that they somewhat came back to the fold. Once I quit funding their fascinations and their adult responsibilities limited their choices forced them back hunting. Albeit, I was willing to support some of these activities while totally unwilling to support the others.
When today’s gen is in more of a competition ESPN type game, they more likely to kill that doe so they can post it on face book and fit in with the gang. Then when you go back in that area, there is that fawn, for weeks just staying in the same spot likely hoping its mother will return. It has not been taught to run.
That is what is taking up hunting now. Blame it on social media. Blame it on Entitlement. I want it now. It is due me. I do not want to work for it for earn it slowly. I want it now. I cannot show up at camp without a kill i will be behind in count.
No, i know what is going on. The loss of the woodsman. The escape from the busy world for solitude and take in all of nature. THAT is whats lost. It is an ESPN game now. And many are smart ***es now, since parenting has changed so much.
Demographics/peer pressure - if you live in 'suburbia', good chance that style of living will trump the outdoors
Go slow. Too many dads want their kids to be just like them, hunting and the outdoors. They have no idea how much damage or resentment they are doing dragging the kid along, getting cold and tired at a very young age.
I got lucky. Both my son & daughter love the outdoors. I didnt take them with me all the time, but when I did, it was about them, not me.
I also didnt allow video games. They had chores, school and sports to do. When it came time to play, they got to choose ATVs, snowmobiles, camping, fishing or hunting
Gotta give them the resources and let them choose
Me and my oldest still laugh about how many times she pooped inside of a pop up blind with me right there! It was always right about prime time....The sacrifices we make for our children!
So what's the magic bullet? We were all treated equally, we were taught to shoot at young ages, hunted small game at young age, and were forced to wait until we were 10 to go along for deer, and had to wait till 12 to go muzzleloading, and then when you were 13 you were aloud to go rifle hunting. That was for the men. All great steps. It took for two of us but not the other two. Each kid is his own kid. You can present it well, but at the end of the day it comes down to what a person enjoys and you can't control that.
My two boys both hunt, as does my wife, but one is more into it than the other.
For kids to get hooked, best idea is early and quick success. Sitting in the woods not seeing game is boring, find a way to see the target animal.
I raised both my boys to learn how to respect and handle firearms safely and both have their hunting license.
My older boy has no desire to kill and my younger boy can’t get enough of it. I believe it’s either in your DNA or not.
There are hunters and there are gatherers since the beginning of time.
My older fulfills his adrenaline rush through athletics and my younger through the outdoors hunting and fishing.
There is a lot of competition for their time with friends, girls, sports, internet, etc. If the hunting is poor, they decide it's more fun to do something else. Fortunately, New Mexico has some really good opportunities for young hunters. Take advantage of any special draws, etc you can. Other than that, small game will wet their appetite. Once they catch the bug, they'll want to get into big game pretty quickly. Both my boys are drooling to go on their first elk hunt. They've watched me come home with nice racks quite a few times. They understand the time and money you have to invest to succeed though. I'll do my best to provide them with opportunities. Time will tell if they take them.
. 14,960,522 Paid Hunting licenses in 2012.
15,486,123 in 2017
Is there a better way to measure how many hunters are in the US besides actual hunting licenses sold?
Many kids are exposed to hunting, only to leave or have less interest when they become young adults. Finding a partner or spouse with similar rural values(including hunting and trapping) is getting more difficult all the time. Remember, most voters live in metropolitan areas, not the plains, woods and mountains. And, whether we like it or not, killing animals for sport and trophies is not the cool thing to do this day and age according to many college and work colleagues........ and voters.
I agree with almost all the posts above, but true solutions will be lacking. Our society has changed and will continue to change. There will be no resurgence of hunting and trapping.
I think you have very little influence over kids, and they are who they are, and choose to do what they want to do. I also think that there may be a lot more choices on things to do today than there were 40 of 50 years ago. More people do activities like rock climbing, mountain biking etc. etc. than 50 years ago, and it's not all just things like "Call of Duty" video games. In Montana here, there is something that makes it really tough for a kid to get into bow hunting, or at least in the case of my kids, and that is fall sports. My sons were all into sports, and pretty athletic, and in Montana you basically have to choose between bow-hunting versus fall sports. Three of my sons stuck with football and one choose to bow-hunt, after he skipped one game as a sophomore for a pre-planned bow-hunting trip and he got benched (Ha!). Then he decided that he was better off to bow-hunt. I really believe that the thing that threatens hunting the most is the shrinking amount of property to hunt on. As public land gets privatized, and private land gets locked up in leases by outfitters, for those willing to pay lots to hunt. So in a way, any hunter who is willing to pay big sums to hunt on private ranches is part of the problem.
My daughter was with me in hunting camps, shooting bows and guns, building custom fly rods to sell and tying pro quality flies. We did father-daughter camping trips. She called in elk for me and helped pack meat.
Then as she got into her mid-teens all that wasn't cool or acceptable with her peers. In fact, it was very uncool. By the time she was 17 she had lost interest totally. She is one out of millions of our kids who responded the same way, according to the studies.
Last summer she came to visit and we stayed at the cabin she helped build She was 26. For three days she stayed inside or on the deck, connected to her phone and her friends. She did walk the dog around the pond once but stopped a few times to text.
It's called "phone addiction".
Agree 100 % with APauls. Mine are too young to know just yet but I continue to introduce them to the outdoors and see where it leads:) I was the only one in my family that hunted and still am...so it truly is a mystery in many instances where our passions lie.
Son #2: I've taken him on all three as well. Caught lots of fish and some nice ones but it never caught him. Duck hunting wasn't for him as he never really liked the violent noise and discomfort of duck hunting. He liked the silence and intrigue of bowhunting though. He's gone with me a fair amount, but hunting has been poor and deer sightings few and far between. He's never gotten a shot in three years of hunting (I know, bad guide right?) and his patience is wearing thin. But I don't have access to great hunting. The one good spot I have, he gets the best set every time. But it hasn't worked out yet. I hope he stays with it.
Son #3: He loves to fish (at this point). He will bug me to go whenever we can. Haven't had him hunting with me yet, but he's only 11. I bought him a bow but he isn't really motivated to shoot it much. He's asked to go duck hunting with me. I have hope for him as an outdoorsman, but we will see.
All three of my boys are athletes that play(ed) travel hockey, travel baseball and football in the fall. Time is a precious commodity and opportunities to do outdoor things aren't that common or available. As a dad, I find I need to really push and take advantage of those few opportunities, but it isn't easy. Dad needs a break too sometimes and my therapy time is alone in a tree. All three boys like to play video games and I fought it in the beginning but they got them anyways and I finally relented. This is their default entertainment. And sports takes up a lot of the rest of their time.
So that's my story. But I will say this. When I was a kid growing up in MI, I played three sports also although it was much less intense then and less organized. I also wasn't exposed to hunting until I was 12. My dad was a duck hunter and I can only remember ever going with him once as a small child. When I was 12 I got the bug to duck hunt. Took firearms safety and the rest is history. I thought about hunting constantly, read every magazine article I could. I subscribed to them all. I was out running the river in my dad's 12 foot aluminum boat when I was in my teens exploring islands and hunting for spots to hunt. When I was in 9th grade I had a summer job with a older kid that bowhunted. I bought my Polar LTD that summer in the mid 1970s. Started shooting and did a little hunting but I was more into rifle hunting, fly fishing and duck hunting still through high school and college. During college the bowhunting bug hit me hard (early 1980s) but I was also into flyfishing for trout and steelhead. Did both a lot and killed my first deer. I was hooked on deer. I don't think there was a day since then that I didn't think about bowhunting. I had the passion for it. It's my life, it defines to a large degree who I am. I don't know if I see that in my boys. They are great kids, I just don't know if it is in them in the same way. They may be enthusiasts, but not into it like I am. Maybe that will change. Maybe not. Did I do enough to hook them? I did way more than my dad did with me at an early age. I just wanted it, my kids not so much.
Sorry this was so long, but there might be some valuable info in there somewhere.
Both our son and daughter were introduced to the outdoors at a very early age. Our son loved everything about it, including hunting, and still does to this day. Our daughter not only doesn't hunt, she doesn't want to hear about it either. Never has. She understands why it's necessary, but wants no part of it herself. She loves the outdoors, whether it's camping, hiking, boating, etc...just not hunting.
Our son has three boys. The two youngest love anything to do with camping, hunting, fishing. You name it. OTOH, our oldest grandson doesn't care for those things. His interests lies in other areas, and that's perfectly fine.
IMO, the only way a parent is wrong is when they try to force their own interests onto their kids. You can certainly introduce them to whatever you want, but they're their own person. Give them the direction, support, and encouragement to enjoy and succeed at whatever it is they want, rather than what you want.
My kids are bombarded daily with anti-hunting messages from teachers. Those are at least shaken off easily, but the other kids seem to be fully indoctrinated and most are not good for sharing hunting and fishing stories. A constant negative pressure exists.
A face painter had been at the elementary school and kids were getting sports stuff painted on their faces, footballs, soccer balls, baseballs... my kid wanted a bow and arrow. The school declared that that would be unacceptable because "it's a weapon." That resulted in an energetic response from me.
Schools are also now fully focused on the business side. Every kid in a classroom means state dollars. An absence is seen as a loss of revenue... unless it's for some NEA supported protest march or cause. Like wearing pussy hats.
My wife had the elementary school principal explain that a trip with me that meant a two day absence from school was not an approved absence and would go on the record as such.
"Family vacations are not approved absences. Winter, Spring and Summer breaks are the appropriate time for those activities." That's a point that I will be bringing up at the next school board meeting. The vacation time taken by the principal during the school year is completely unnecessary and unexcused. Isn't it ironic that the same principal that takes issue with my kid missing school to spend time with me and learn life skills and partake in our family's culture has no problem taking the day off and removing her transgender child from school to attend a protest march?
Also, the ridiculous homework loads and school activities that are piled on today make scheduling extremely difficult. It seems to me that the schools are looking to monopolize virtually every waking moment that a kid has during the school year. This weekend is President's Day weekend. A three day weekend. And the schools have scheduled for the weekend, forcing my kids to make a choice... and they up the pressure. "If you choose to not participate in this weekend, it will impact your participation going forward."
And access is difficult around here. We are forced to travel distance to get to hunting areas. The drive adds another layer of challenge. The point is for the kids to enjoy themselves and want to continue.
I think that it's worth the effort. I believe that my kids have an appreciation for the outdoors that will last a lifetime. I believe that "Outdoors Kids" are a whole step above in behavior, responsibility, respect and self reliance than "Video Game Urbanite Kids". I can understand how people get overwhelmed and take a path of capitulation, giving in to the steady pressure. I'm just a cement-head and push back harder. We may not win every time, but I get my shots in.
I will be ecstatic when we can exit this environment though.
Orionbrother - stick with it. I completely understand in ways you dont even know.
Both of my kids traveled to Italy TWICE before they were 12 yrs old. They got more experience & value in life on those 2 trips than any kid did in that school for a year.
I went in to the school and told the principal just what was taking place. "Give them their homework and any extra credit they can do. If they are considered unexcused absent when then return, we will have another pointed discussion at that time"
I know that my kid's principal would blow a gasket if I expressed my opinion to her kid about his dress and barrette wearing.
I myself only hunted and shot a few times as a kid - only due to my older cousins and uncle. My Dad had ZERO desire to hunt/camp/shoot - and understood - he said he'd had enough of that in 'Nam.
I was lucky enough to have some good woods & ponds near me, so my outdoor exposure was hiking and fishing. I'd watch birds, rabbits, snakes, etc, but never wanted to hunt. Enter the teens years where girls, sports, cars & work took up time, and I had no desire or time for the outdoors.
In my late 30's, one of the guys who worked with me asked if I'd like to go fishing.. made me realize how much I missed it. At the same time, one of the guys who worked for me started bringing venison in.. so - poof - I started hunting.
My nephews and some friends have seen how into the outdoors I am, and the 2 boys like to fish and shoot, both guns & archery. The older (now 16) got a turkey 2 yrs ago, but no deer yet. The younger I believe will not be a hunter but likes 3D shoots. I'm not pushing them either way....
To put and end to my rambling - I think many people (out here in Libland CT) are in the same boat - we've lost connection with the farming industry as well as the firearms history, and our hunting rights are constantly under assault, so many people figure "why bother".
I think APauls nailed it. Much of it comes down to personality. I do think with my nephews there were some factors that contributed to them not being into it as much, ie. dad not taking them like he should have, other ones having success come too easy, sports, electronics, etc..... but in the end I had video games and sports, and nothing even came close to my drive for hunting. If it was summer I was shooting starlings and red squirrels in the back yard trying not to get caught by neighbors. If it was fall and winter I was hunting, then shed hunting, then crow hunting. If it was spring I was turkey hunting, and on and on it went. I was always a country kid stuck in the city. Then 10 years ago I came to Montana and started having my own kids. Now I take them gopher hunting, fishing, deer hunting, camping, jet skiing, and try to do as much outdoors as I can with them. Outdoors is a way of life in the place I live. My 8 yr old daughter informed me the other day she wants to do rifle and pistol for 4-H. Now, she is carbon clone of me, and I have high hopes she will follow my passion. My middle daughter is her mom's clone, and I think she will go occasionally, but it might not be her passion. (I will still try) My son will probably hunt hard, because he's the only boy, and that's what his dad is going to steer him towards. I will have my kids in sports, but hunting will always be king in our recreations. Where we live it's what folks do, and where you live plays a big role in this discussion, at least in my mind.
I also think much of it comes down to making it fun when you do take them. When I take my kids camping, or fishing, or hunting I try to make it all about them. I buy lots of snacks, try to be goofy, and make it a fun experience for them so that the next time I want to take them they are raring to go. I remember when my dad would take me fishing we would always buy subs and chips and have a good time eating on the boat. One of the hardest things for me as a dad is that I am wired to hunt hard and be successful, so it is really difficult for me to override my killer instincts and hold back when I take my kids. Regardless I realize if I am yelling at them or irritated every time we go out together, chances are they won't find it too much fun. I am not there yet, but I am trying, and constantly reminding myself that being successful doesn't much matter when I take them.
I think if you take them often, have fun, and spend time with them you'll be successful regardless of whether they turn into hunting savants or not. Taking my kids skiing this weekend, may not be hunting but it's the outdoors and I'm sure they'll love every minute of it.
It's getting a little tougher with the high school freshman. Fairly hardcore academics, special courses of study, exams that matter, academic programs etc. We just work around it all to the best of our ability.
Here are my two kids and their hunting experiences: Child #1 started sitting in a turkey blind at about age 6. She woke up and got to drink a root beer and eat a Poptart in the blind. These were special treats so she remembers those turkey hunts fondly. Also, turkeys make a great first hunt because EVERYBODY knows that turkeys are good food. Turkeys don't have the "Bambi" look. I took her along to go track several deer that I had shot. What I mean by this is that I asked her to track the blood while I followed. She was encouraged by finding those deer and curiously watched while I dressed them. I took her deer hunting 5-6 times per year when she was 9 to 11, but she ultimately didn't want to go anymore because she wasn't sure she wanted to shoot a deer. At ages 11 and 12 she chased around a rabbit with a 22 rifle and loved the chase. Then she shot a squirrel and seems to have had regrets about killing it. I ate it but she couldn't. She will happily shoot groundhogs near the garden (we don't eat groundhogs). Now at age 13 she has drifted away from hunting but loves camping in the backyard when her friends have a sleep over. Surprisingly, she perked up when I said that I might go on an early season hunt in CO. Now she wants to come along and camp while I am hunting. Moral of the story: at age 13 she may have drifted away from hunting but loves camping. There is a good chance that she'll come back to hunting.
Child #2 didn't go hunting as much when she was younger because I focused more on her older sister. I took her several times, of course, and made sure that I didn't push her outside of her comfort zone. But I never really expected her to be a hunter because she played with dolls much longer than her older sister. Boy did I judge that wrong. At 8 I took her hunting from a treestand once (I had never taken my older daughter up in a treestand). She loved looking down on the birds in the bushes below us. Then an 8 pointer walked out and took an arrow from my recurve. He ran 30 yards and no more. I knew that she was at an age where she wouldn't be grossed out so I was going to shoot any deer on that day. She took the lead and she tracked while I followed her. She was as happy as I was when she put her hands on that deer. I mounted the rack on a plaque and it hung in her bedroom for two years because she was proud of it. She insisted that I also take her best friend hunting so 1-2 times per year I take both of them up in a treestand (they sit next to each other) and often we see deer. Last year a forkhorn came to 8 yards but I didn't shoot because I didn't know how her friend would react. We were all excited to look down on a deer that was so close. She has very little interest in hunting out of a blind but will go up in a tree anytime. This past year I took her and a doe followed our footsteps to the tree. I had to wait until the doe turned away to get a good angle before shooting. My daughter tracked that deer as well and was more excited than I was. At 11 I feel certain that she'll be a hunter in the future. She really wants to go hunting out West with me but this year I told her that I'll take her sister first.
I wanted to share these experiences because each child is different. My older daughter tried more small game and the younger daughter prefers deer hunting. I couldn't have guessed beforehand how that would turn out. Also, it is absolutely critical that you make their trips fun. You can't be selfish and want to stay out too long. This may present a problem for western hunts where I want to hunt hard and may push them too hard.
Speaking of pushing too hard. I have a friend with two boys named Hunter and Chase. I'm sure you can tell that he wanted to raise two hunters. My guess is that he pushed too hard because his oldest doesn't like hunting or even fishing. His youngest son loves all hunting and fishing.
Moral of the story (in case you missed it): make their trips fun, give selflessly of your time, start them at 6-7 years old, hunt turkeys, let them make the calls, and spoil them in the field. I hope this works for other dads and moms.
Experience tells me when a child gets to be around 16 or so they have other interests i.e. girlfriend or boyfriend.
If they previously enjoyed being in the out of doors and hunting they will return.
It is much more difficult to get someone interested in hunting (especially a hard hunting style) if they begin later in life. I have found if you can interest them in Archery first there is a better chance they MAY migrate to hunting. Not all will do so but as long as they enjoy the aspect of shooting a bow we have an ally for hunting.
I have a son who hunts with his family and a daughter who does not hunt nor do her children. This said I am content my daughters family hasn't any issues with hunting.
We as hunters are more responsible for the promotion of hunting by our actions and our voice. Especially with our children. It is up to we parent's / grandparent to make it enjoyable enough for a child to want to hunt, fish, trap, to be in our great out of doors.
Personally I'm not to concerned about the future of hunting. All I need for reassurance is to read the beginning post along with the pictures and other reply's.
The future of hunting is in good hands.
Thank you, young fathers and mothers
Ohh and I referenced it earlier but that was a one way 13 hour drive through western Kansas and western Nebraska without a single device with a screen. My kids know how to occupy their own thoughts and communicate with adults.
One the things that I did was to get little bows for them when they were 4 or 5. Since they were girls they didn't like the black boring limbs so I took a few cans of spray paint and made them colorful. They like their little bows so much that the bows were kept in their bedrooms because they wanted to look at them often.
Spoil them when you start them.
So you get kids that see that people are making everything easy for them. What do they expect? Easy success. When that doesn't happen, they quit.
There are currently 3 main generations right now Boomers, GenXers and Millennials.
Boomers age has them leaving the sport in waves - matter a fact they are 30% less likely to bowhunt vs. the other generations. It's not because they don't love it but again their age is effecting that. That alone means there are over 500+k less bowhunters.
GenX'ers are on par with other generations as far as interest in bowhunting but they are HALF the size of Boomers and Millennials. I am a GenXer but we won't influence much because our size.
Millennials. Surprisingly, Millennials are bowhunters and are 41% more likely to bowhunt than the average. Their generation is actually larger than Boomers. So they are filling some of the gap.
The real question will be is what will the next generation be like in size.
So the reality we are in has less to do with less interest and more about population cycles.
Yeah. The convenient hunting land isn't free.
I absolutely agree that each person is a unique individual (a special snowflake if you will). Thankfully I was born with the drive to hunt and my brother was too. We’re both obsessed to the point it dictates life decisions. I wasn’t gypped out of hunting by sports, I chose hunting over playing high school sports. I [usually] chose hunting over hell-raising with friends and chasing the girls around. I went to college somewhere I could hunt. I’ve chosen where I live on proximity to hunting and fishing. To start with I am just praying that my kids got those genes. To me it’s a bit insulting having made some of these sacrifices growing up that parents blame all these distraction factors. No one is forcing kids to do these things, it comes down to parenting and choices.
I know the factors that got me into it, so I will share some of these
1) Relationships/Immersion – Some of my earliest childhood memories involve my dad and grandpap hunting. I just thought they, and hunting/fishing vis-a-vis those close personal relationships, were the coolest things ever. I wanted to emulate that for as long as I can remember. There was absolutely no pressure to hunt, it was just what the family did.
2) Sacrifice – My dad and pap sacrificed a lot to get me started. I’ve taught two friends to hunt, one from complete scratch, and let me tell you…it is a 3-4 year solid commitment, and it really takes a good deal of hand holding and explaining things we take for granted. It’s not something you can do right with some fluffy camp style powwow or shooting a bow a couple times a year in phys ed class. Those are just so people can feel better about themselves and feel like they are trying.
3) Simplicity - I spent hundreds of hours hunting squirrels and groundhogs before I was even allowed the thought of a deer stand. Before that I shot a 20 pound bare bow for several years. You don’t just plop a kid out there on deer and expect it to stick, in my opinion. Notice nowhere did I say it came easy. I think I missed about 37 squirrels before I finally hit popped one with the .22, but I’ll be damned if I was going to let that get me down. And wow did I have some squirrel fever back in the day. Simple definitions of success too. If a young teenager isn’t tickled by any old deer and feels the need to trophy hunt, that is no ones fault but the parent for either projecting that upon them or failing to explain that hunting media is not realistic.
Its the same hunters vying for the same resource. A 20yr old kid isnt in competition for a guided hunt, or have a stock pile of PPs going into a draw
Will address most of the questions being posed on this thread.
And in IL in particular, obscene property taxes push many landowners who are amenable to hunting, to turn to leasing. The large number of boomers, who are at ages where they have greater discretionary time and money, bid up the leases and lock up the land. Pretty simple economics.
Not much to do other than vote against the wasteful politicians, try harder and extoll the virtues of golf.
Maybe if the retired guys would start playing video games...
I think that's a big factor. I don't personally buy the "nowhere to hunt" bit. If you want to raise a family in that lifestyle it's still out there and actually pretty affordable (I could never get the wife on board to move 2 hours outside of any major city). I had a playstation, chased plenty of girls, played 4 sports in high school, as well as college and professional baseball. The one place I've always liked to be more than anywhere else is in the field with my dad. I just had the gene. Brother and sister don't.
I want my girls to like the outdoors as I'm sure all the dads on here would. Do they need to monitor camera's year round and count down the days until the November Whitetail Rut like I do? No. But if it means some quality time with them in the woods/blind/tree or whatever then I would love for them to want to go or do that with me. If they don't have that passion then hopefully something else outdoors whether it be camping or skiing or hiking or whatever else.
My plan is to introduce them young, try and pick my hunts to where there is at least a little action (like we can predict that) and make sure the weather is okay. I'll also pack more snacks than Walmart does. From there - see if they latch onto it and if they don't, we can find other things that we can enjoy together.
Very much agree....
When I was a kid a doe got me super jacked and the sight of a yearling buck??? I came unglued. While I have certainly grown to become more of a trophy hunter, to this day, I still just love to shoot stuff, and I sometimes miss the days when any deer was a tremendous accomplishment. When my kids get there you better believe I will have the same mindset for them.
Seeing those kids loving a bit of work, and getting DIRTY is awesome!
I'm a dad of 6.5 YO twins - a boy and girl. They are the greatest kids in the history of human kind (I'm confident you believe your's are if you are reading this, and have kids...know what - you are right).
They still need to be disciplined, and corrected. They need to know that no matter how much we love them and how amazing they are... That their poop smells just like everyone else's, and that they wont win every prize - even if they work hard. They need to know that failing is what makes you successful, eventually. Resilience pays off more than easy triumphs. Love the work... because after any win, comes more work. You all see where I'm going here I think.
LINK's comments about entertainment just really resonated (as well as the hiking and muddy kids) with me. So many friends who have kids that seem to vanish after school, going to their rooms and playing video games or surfing social media (ironic to type that while on a social media platform in bowsite.com)... also have kids who never seem to contribute, be it for their families or communities. Conversely, friends who's kids play, create, and generally attack actual life vs "virtual" life become engaged in the family and local community and take on new challenges.
I'm sure other factors are at play. Kids and families have more pressure than ever to "not" play, to "not" recreate or explore in the world around them. "It's 7th grade damnit - you need to rack up the extra curricular activities, be a sports star and get a 4.0 or Harvard wont come knocking in a couple years. Making a fort out of branches in your back yard and pretending you are surviving after a plane crash in the woods is a waste of time, just like playing a game of pickup hoops with your siblings or the local pack o kids has no value." Kids should be tightly structured and on the "right" (yeah, because anyone knows what that is :)) path.
The world is taking all of us away from the woods and waters. Some kids still get a shot, and they love it.
But more and more... there are just to many things, and families create to many pressures, and miss the boat.
I'm just crossing my fingers that when I take my kids turkey hunting this spring, I start a life long love they some day share with their kids... I'm hoping to, point blank, be like a lot of you who have posted here with amazing pictures of your awesome kids doing really fun outdoors stuff. THAT, is motivational, and exciting. And fuel to say "no" the next time I hear: "Daddy can we watch a movie" :)!
When my son gets to about 15yds, he see's her. He was certain he could have been a ninja right then and there. He waved us all to stop, and just stared in amazement watching the doe. As the evening breeze shifted to her, she trotted off, circling round us and off. he still brings up how "He snuck up on a deer" and talks about it.
If given the chance, no video game can keep up with the woods or waters...
For you, you're just camping in the backyard. For the six year olds, it's an adventure and you work out any kinks so that things go smoothly on trips.
They pack with different priorities when they're little.
My daughter loves the electronic devices, but she got a youth Razr for Christmas, and I love it that SHE loves it. Gets her outside. Teaches her things. . . How to get unstuck. Don't run into trees, etc. She's WAY WAY below the age they recommend for them, but she loves it.
I hope I'm on the right track with her. I take her out checking trail cams, and doing different quick and fun things outside. We've gone fishing and tubing and wakeboarding. I will definitely take her youth deer and turkey hunting someday. As well as small game and ducks, and everything else. I want her to experience it all. She may not grow into a die-hard hunter. But like I said, as long as she isn't an uninformed snowflake. . . .
She's watched me pass-shoot pigeons in the yard. And shoot possums off the cat food bowl. So I feel like we're heading in the right track :)
We'll see I guess :)
That can't help in a lot of circumstances. I was able to walk out the backyard and have a couple thousand acres to roam. Most kids anymore don't have that. It's a 2 hour drive to grandma's house just to get away from the concrete jungle
Very few people like solitude now days. It is used for punisment.
When I was in High School, football practice didn't start until the last week of August. One week before school opened. Now it begins right after the last game of the season with weight lifting, camps and light practices with shoulder pads and shorts . Heck, when I played, the week of opening elk, there were no games as most of us and the coaches were hunting.
Parents living vicariously through their kids sporting activities leaves little time for kids anymore. Makes me sick.
2007 - 14,575,484 PAID HUNTING licenses holders in the US
2017 - 15,486,123 PAID HUNTING licenses holders in the US
I am not a numbers guy, but that does not show a decline of 30% over the last 10 years.
My take-For any position or opinion, you can find data to refute it. Now, the accuracy of that data is another thing. In my opinion and that of many who should know, including state management agencies, the sale of hunting and fishing licenses are declining. The causes...manifold. My col of last week on just this subject, was picked up by a variety of entities, (with my permission at no charge,). I have some doubts that would be the case if the information was faulty.
And almost every one of the eight causes I listed, have been mentioned in this one thread.
There will come a time when we are outnumbered and surrounded. Then we will see broad sweeping changes that will infringe upon our pursuit. We will be the minority but there will be no movement towards fairness and the right to hunt will be a relic of the past. One that bubbas did not the aristocracy.
When the boomer hump finally drops off the edge of the cliff and hunter numbers decrease to the 8-9M range, while nonhunting urban population keeps growing, is when things will get really interesting.
EDIT: I just looked up two different sets of metrics and USFWS says there were 15.7M hunters in 2011 (by their corrected methodology), which dropped to 13.7M in 2016. Another tracking service, Statistica, claims there were 16.9M in 2017. So who the hell really knows?
I also think that something that isn’t expressed as much is the ever increasing demand on parents, children today, their education and activities are way more labor intensive then when I grew up. Granted I am not the oldest amongst us to i am sure it’s changed even more over the last 50 years.. I can see how it’s hard to worry about their children becomeing hunters when you planning on funding a 300k college education.
My wife does not hunt near as much as I do but spends around 20 days afield annually. Our house is adorned with a 375 lb black bear mount of hers, a 4x5 European elk mount and a couple whitetail racks.
Every spring we pull our daughter out of school for an out of state youth turkey hunt. We all sit in the same blind and read books and draw pictures during the down times. She is 8 now and has been hunting turkeys with her .410 mini bantam since she was five. She has killed two jakes and two toms. My daughter looks forward to hunting more than "just turkeys" when she turns 10 (the legal age to mentor hunt in SD). How ever there is a bill in the legislature that already passed in the senate to remove the minimum age for mentor hunt.
Our family blood trails deer together, we shoot 3D tournaments, put up and take down stands together. My daughter doesn't know this is not how "most" families spend their time together.
I know all too well what lies ahead for children as they become more independent and make more choices for themselves. I know she will be bombarded with other choices on how and who to spend her time with. I don't expect her to be just like me. I am just enjoying the time that I have with her now while she still enjoys hunting with me. Hopefully it will continue in some capacity until I am not able to hunt any longer.
Sports also meant was not easy to work after school, weekends or summers. Taking a week away from school to go elk hunting meant when returned from the hunt you would be sitting one game for every practice or game missed.
My kids are grown now and have young children. We get outdoors to hike but not to fish or hunt. I am okay with that. They are happy and successful.
When I was in high school the boys would meet after in the parking lot after schools with shotguns in trucks and go rabbit hunting. Yes the guns were on school property and it wasn’t a problem. There was no anti hunting movement and the majority of boys hunted a little. It was a normal part of society.
We can do all the analysis, figure out there is not enough money, and not enough but the bottom line America no longer embraces hunting as normal way of life.
Camping trip from this past summer.
I think the first step in solving some of these challenges we face is to recognize that it's not a matter of external forces/technology, or anti-hunter/liberals. It's a business and marketing issue. Treat it as such, and we'll find solutions, treat it like it's a cultural shift...and it will be...and shift us into the abyss. I actually have a podcast coming out toward the end of the month to discuss these very topics with a buddy from QDMA. Happy hunting!
when (ate 80's and 90's) and where (south east AR) i grew up about half my friends hunted/ fished. now there are so many options to be involved in multiple sports and other non-school activities. not that doing one is better than the other, just different options.
i took a call from a guy i graduated HS with (hadn't spoken to him in prob ~15 years. one of the first question he asked me was if i stilled hunted everyday - that really got me to thinking about this topic.
i really enjoyed leaning against a tree in knee deep muddy water before school and sitting in tree stand every evening just hoping to see a deer. however, i can's honestly say i would have done that over an organized team sport or learning a musical instrument is the option has been there.