What went wrong?
General Topic
Contributors to this thread:
elk yinzer 13-Feb-18
WV Mountaineer 13-Feb-18
BowtechArcher0880 13-Feb-18
Pat Lefemine 13-Feb-18
DConcrete 13-Feb-18
DConcrete 13-Feb-18
DConcrete 13-Feb-18
Ucsdryder 13-Feb-18
DConcrete 13-Feb-18
cnelk 13-Feb-18
Pigsticker 13-Feb-18
Vonfoust 13-Feb-18
lineman21 13-Feb-18
LINK 13-Feb-18
Buskill 13-Feb-18
cnelk 13-Feb-18
Fuzz 13-Feb-18
APauls 13-Feb-18
Grubby 13-Feb-18
DConcrete 13-Feb-18
Bob H in NH 13-Feb-18
Brotsky 13-Feb-18
T Mac 13-Feb-18
nmwapiti 13-Feb-18
SBH 13-Feb-18
Nick Muche 13-Feb-18
ELKMAN 13-Feb-18
drycreek 13-Feb-18
Pigsticker 13-Feb-18
Missouribreaks 13-Feb-18
jjs 13-Feb-18
Irishman 13-Feb-18
buzz mc 13-Feb-18
BIG BEAR 13-Feb-18
Jaquomo 13-Feb-18
Timbrhuntr 13-Feb-18
Bou'bound 13-Feb-18
Hawkeye 13-Feb-18
12yards 13-Feb-18
Zim1 13-Feb-18
shiloh 13-Feb-18
Pat Lefemine 13-Feb-18
grubby 13-Feb-18
wyobullshooter 13-Feb-18
orionsbrother 13-Feb-18
Jaquomo 13-Feb-18
Pat Lefemine 13-Feb-18
cnelk 13-Feb-18
Jaquomo 13-Feb-18
orionsbrother 13-Feb-18
Wayniac 13-Feb-18
grubby 13-Feb-18
Mad Trapper 13-Feb-18
Irishman 13-Feb-18
Bowriter 13-Feb-18
12yards 13-Feb-18
Irishman 13-Feb-18
deerslayer 13-Feb-18
LINK 13-Feb-18
Fuzzy 13-Feb-18
orionsbrother 13-Feb-18
elkstabber 13-Feb-18
LINK 13-Feb-18
tradmt 13-Feb-18
Nesser 13-Feb-18
buc i 313 13-Feb-18
LINK 13-Feb-18
Missouribreaks 13-Feb-18
elkstabber 13-Feb-18
RutnStrut 13-Feb-18
Charlie Rehor 13-Feb-18
Sage Buffalo 13-Feb-18
TXHunter 13-Feb-18
grindersonly 13-Feb-18
Missouribreaks 13-Feb-18
Jaquomo 13-Feb-18
orionsbrother 13-Feb-18
elk yinzer 13-Feb-18
SDHNTR(home) 13-Feb-18
cnelk 13-Feb-18
Jaquomo 13-Feb-18
orionsbrother 13-Feb-18
DB999 13-Feb-18
deerslayer 13-Feb-18
Will 13-Feb-18
LINK 13-Feb-18
Will 13-Feb-18
orionsbrother 13-Feb-18
Jaquomo 13-Feb-18
tobywon 13-Feb-18
LINK 13-Feb-18
LINK 13-Feb-18
Bake 13-Feb-18
Bake 13-Feb-18
jjb4900 13-Feb-18
hawkeye in PA 13-Feb-18
AZ8 13-Feb-18
Bowriter 13-Feb-18
Pigsticker 13-Feb-18
Jaquomo 13-Feb-18
Trial153 13-Feb-18
trophyhill 13-Feb-18
stuckintherut 13-Feb-18
Treeline 13-Feb-18
Treeline 13-Feb-18
TreeWalker 13-Feb-18
Pigsticker 13-Feb-18
Steve Leffler 14-Feb-18
deerslayer 14-Feb-18
deerslayer 14-Feb-18
TFTS 14-Feb-18
elk yinzer 15-Feb-18
the_runner 15-Feb-18
From: elk yinzer
13-Feb-18
In the vane of the hysteria about declining hunter numbers that pops up in varied forms, let's discuss what I see as the core of the issue. There are a lot of fathers out there whose sons and or daughters didn't take up hunting. If that applies to you or someone close to you, why? What can I do as a young dad to not repeat those mistakes? Or is the hysteria simply a deflection of personal responsibilty because it is easier to blame vague societal factors and inferior younger generations?

13-Feb-18
Great topic and post man. Here’s my thoughts.

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

13-Feb-18
I have 2 kids, 17yr old son who I had in the woods young chasing squirrel and other small game. And 11 yr old daughter who I didn’t start taking till she was about 8. My boy never really showed interest. My daughter on the other hand wants to go everytime. She shoots at our local bow club and has always showed interests. I am waiting to see if my boy will show interest as he ages. Growing up in a hunting family my sister never really took the bug. But I sure did. Not sure anything you can do. I have tried to keep it fun and their friends envolved also so they don’t feel alone. Definitely not as many kids hunting or shooting. I have my thoughts that more broken homes have taken the dad/child hunting past time and switched to sports and visiting other family members when time allows. This along with school shootings and the negative media on hunting doesn’t help a kid feel they are doing something socially accepted. It is not as a “Cool” Topic in my kids school as it was when I was young. We used to take squirrel tales, rabbit feet, pheasant tails etc to class after the weekend to brag. My daughter takes deer sticks to lunch and seems to get a good response that the other kids not exposed to hunting try it, like it and it starts conversation. But definitely different times. Hope someone else has good thoughts on keeping it alive in our youth.

From: Pat Lefemine
13-Feb-18
There are many things against kids and hunting. Single parent families, lack of access to quality hunting, the liberal slant within our schools, but I think above all else is the distraction from electronic devices - cell phones and video games and 600 TV channels that is our biggest threat. My understanding is participation is also down in school sports as well. Our kids are being mentally poisoned by Silicon Valley. And this is coming from someone who has made a great living off technology.

From: DConcrete
13-Feb-18

DConcrete's embedded Photo
DConcrete's embedded Photo
Get them out there while they are young. They have their entire lives to trophy Hunt. Let them put some critters on the ground first.

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!!

From: DConcrete
13-Feb-18

DConcrete's embedded Photo
DConcrete's embedded Photo

From: DConcrete
13-Feb-18

DConcrete's embedded Photo
DConcrete's embedded Photo

From: Ucsdryder
13-Feb-18
Go to a Colorado otc unit and fill your heart with warmth at all the hunters!

From: DConcrete
13-Feb-18

DConcrete's embedded Photo
DConcrete's embedded Photo
I shot this cow because my little guy was with me. Wouldn’t have changed it one bit even if I was guaranteed a 400” bull in a week without him there.

From: cnelk
13-Feb-18

cnelk's embedded Photo
cnelk's embedded Photo

From: Pigsticker
13-Feb-18

Pigsticker's Link
The attached link gives you some food for thought.

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.

From: Vonfoust
13-Feb-18
Many factors, but one that I have never seen discussed is something that I've noticed over the years. For many, the hunting passion wanes as time marches on. I know many of my friends are not nearly as passionate about hunting now in mid-late 40's and early 50's as they were in their 20's and 30's. Add that together with many people waiting later in life to have children and the passion to pass it on is less than it was for our parents who were having children in their early to mid 20's.

From: lineman21
13-Feb-18
I know the decline in my parts can be attributed to lack of land to hunt on. Expensive leases deterred many people from hunting.

From: LINK
13-Feb-18

LINK's embedded Photo
LINK's embedded Photo
LINK's embedded Photo
Show them the view from the top and make them use their feet to get there.
LINK's embedded Photo
Show them the view from the top and make them use their feet to get there.
LINK's embedded Photo
Shut the screen off and tell them to go get dirty.
LINK's embedded Photo
Shut the screen off and tell them to go get dirty.
LINK's embedded Photo
Proverbs 22:6 Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it.
LINK's embedded Photo
Proverbs 22:6 Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it.
I’ve got three young girls, many nephews and nieces and I help with the church youth group. I’m of the opinion that many kids are ruined by unlimited entertainment. Video games, iPhones and even tv. Theres nothing wrong with these things but kids just need told to go outside and play. We have no tv service, just a few movies that we hardly watch. My kids have no phone or iPad and certainly no PlayStation . They can entertain themselves for hours with just a shoe or hanger. They love reading and can’t sit still for a few hours for church or hunting. Every summer we go on a 10-12 hour car trip with no screens just books and what’s playing in the countryside around us. My kids no how to spot critters and enjoy the countryside. If you want kids with an attention span that love the outdoors don’t give them any or at least severely limit electronics and kick them outside. Make them be active. My oldest wanted a hover board for Christmas, for you old guys it’s a self propelled platform kids stand on. Well she got a rip stick(2 castor wheeled skateboard)because Santa doesn’t make electronics, lol. Just my two cents. You want a kid that doesn’t like hunting or the outdoors? Buy them every electronic gadget their friends have. My oldest is 8 and I bet she’s the only kid in her school under twelve shooting a bow. Kids will love what you do and what they know. Show them how to love the outdoors.

From: Buskill
13-Feb-18
My twins are 13. Both started shooting at age 5. Later we hunted . Both have taken deer. My daughter still likes to hunt but my son does not . He likes to eat what we kill but he says he does not like to see the animals die . I respect his decision . In my household it’s mandatory to know how to safely handle firearms ( he still likes to shoot ) but hunting is optional.

From: cnelk
13-Feb-18
You and your wife have to be on the same page when it comes to hunting/outdoors.

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

View post on imgur.com

View post on imgur.com

View post on imgur.com

From: Fuzz
13-Feb-18
I have 3 daughters ages 16-24. My oldest I started taking w me when she was 2, and some hunts were pretty tough physically. She loved goin w me and up until high school, we did a lot of hunting and fishing along with some trapping. I even took her out of state for 4 years so she could hunt deer/turkey/squirrels because Michigan had a 12 year old age limit at the time. Once in high school, the demands of playing sports severely curtailed our hunting. Now she works full time and has even less time. That has repeated with all 3 of my girls. A big draw back is the local hunting is tough from a lack of deer. I can go out a dozen times and see maybe 4 deer. Try that with a kid and it won't take long too lose interest. I even packed them up and took them to Kansas turkey hunting over spring break one year. We had a lot of fun but the drive really wore them down. We even stopped in St Louis to see the arch and we made some good memories. They have all killed deer and at least one turkey over the years but man was it a struggle!! I don't want things easy for them but you hafta have some target animal action to help keep interest up.

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!

From: APauls
13-Feb-18
I come from a family of 4 boys. My dad treated each of us equally. While every single one of us have hunted, and enjoy the time spent hunting my oldest brother goes on a hunt maybe every few years. So essentially doesn't hunt. The middle two of us, Matt and myself have the bug worse than I don't know - anything. There's no way even my dad had the bug like we do, and then my youngest hunts prob once a year.

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.

From: Grubby
13-Feb-18

Grubby's embedded Photo
Grubby's embedded Photo
I don’t see it. When I was a kid all the boys hunted. There were maybe a couple of the girls that did. My son is 13, all the boys in his class hunt.....so do most of the girls.

From: DConcrete
13-Feb-18
You may not see it grubby, but it is a harsh reality. I believe it’s something like 2 million less since 2012. With projections of the same loss in 2020

From: Bob H in NH
13-Feb-18
Some people simply don't want to hunt. My brother doesn't, my Uncle has two sons, one LOVES hunting, the other could care less.

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.

From: Brotsky
13-Feb-18
It's hard for young men and women to learn how to hunt when they have access to no quality hunting land. They are left with public land where they run into hunters that are unfriendly, protective of "their deer", and unwilling to help show them the ropes or give them any pointers to lead them to success. Look at yourself in the mirror, if a young man approached you on your public hunting spot and asked you for some help what would you do? I sleep comfortably at night with what I would do and have done many times. My daughter used to punch me when we walked away saying "you just told that guy how to hunt this spot." I would just smile and say "yup, hopefully he has as much fun as we did." She gets it now, and someday hopefully she'll pass that along. I'm just at a stage in my life where I've had great success over the years, but now seeing others succeed at something I love brings me more joy than my personal success. I don't have anything to prove to anyone other than my maker.

From: T Mac
13-Feb-18
Being 1 of 3 boys growing up whose father didn’t hunt, my younger brother and I hunted from an early age. Today only I hunt.

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.

From: nmwapiti
13-Feb-18
Pretty much agree with everyone above. Kids these days (and maybe kids always) need quite a bit of success early to get hooked. My boys both hunted, but not as much as I did. They both killed their first deer with me. Turkey hunting took too much patience, they got bored. They both like to shoot guns and bows. It's easy to talk them into shooting some skeet or 3-d.

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.

From: SBH
13-Feb-18
If your kid doesn't want to hunt it doesn't mean something went "wrong". It ain't for everyone and thats ok. More important to spend time with your kids, doesn't matter what they are doing. Just be with them. Since I hunt, a lot of what I do with my kids is hunting related, I try to take at least one of them with me all the time. I want them to know I want to spend time with them and have a relationship with them. We could do whatever....but me likes to be outside and in the woods so we do a lot of that!! I don't really care if my kids end up hunting, fishing, and doing the things I enjoy. I hope they do, but won't consider it a failure if they don't. I want to raise men that love God, lead with their actions and have integrity. I personally think there is a lot in hunting that helps teach that and its good for you but my way aint the only way. Just love those kids and make sure they know it.

From: Nick Muche
13-Feb-18
"I believe it’s something like 2 million less since 2012. With projections of the same loss in 2020"

. 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?

From: ELKMAN
13-Feb-18
At this point if I were a father I would steer my child clear of hunting. At least if you are referring to public land, DIY, real hunting. The juice just ain't worth the squeeze at this point at least 50% of the time and that percentage is rising at an alarming rate. Not to mention the prostitution of our hunting heritage that is the commercialization of our once proud tradition. I would steer them more towards photography, back country, and or subsistence life style. Make it real. Or don't bother. JMO

From: drycreek
13-Feb-18
I don't have the answer. My youngest (21) had more opportunities for quality hunting than my oldest (48) but he doesn't hunt and hasn't in several years, while my oldest son lives and breathes it. The difference in them doesn't stop there though, as my youngest is much more tech oriented, (systems and admin major in college), and the oldest has worked outdoors all his life as a heavy equipment operator and supervisor. I think that a person's core personality is much more apt to make him a hunter, or not, than any outside influences. My youngest hunted, fished, shot bows, rifles, and handguns growing up, but about the mid-teens it just faded out. He's pretty creative, and a thinker, and I think hunting just didn't offer him enough entertainment. It's either a passion within you, or it isn't.

From: Pigsticker
13-Feb-18
Elkman, the reverse psychology method may have the opposite effect.

13-Feb-18
It is simply a shift in societal priorities. There was a time just a few short generations ago when 80% of America was employed by, or connected to, rural agriculture and it's associated values including hunting and trapping. Today it is 2%, and many of those are very recent immigrants with their own cultural values. The family farm and ranches are declining.

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.

From: jjs
13-Feb-18
Comes down to different time, different generation. Lack of access, cost, father figure or family and political correctness. Where I was raised I just went out the back door or down the road to hunt and that is all gone by urban development and the destruction of habitats by farming practices and what is left to hunt it is leased, it would take a kid to go a few miles to even find a place to hunt if there is any game left, sad.

From: Irishman
13-Feb-18
I have four sons between ages of 25 and 32. Two don't hunt at all, one hunts a little, and one would bow-hunt all 6 weeks of the season if he could, rifle hunts, traps, pretty much does everything related to hunting. They were all brought up the same, went to the same schools etc.

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.

From: buzz mc
13-Feb-18
Is there really a decline in the number of people hunting? Is there really a decline in the number of kids hunting? Does anyone have any verifiable figures to back these claims? I know I certainly see a lot of youth participating in the outdoors.

From: BIG BEAR
13-Feb-18

BIG BEAR's embedded Photo
BIG BEAR's embedded Photo

From: Jaquomo
13-Feb-18
There were 40 million licensed hunters in 1970 when it peaked. That was the year I got a driver's license and started hunting like a wild man.

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".

From: Timbrhuntr
13-Feb-18
I would say for me the number one reason is no place to hunt. Where I live there isn't any public land to hunt for hundreds of miles ! The only people I knew who's kids around here hunted were very well to do and took there kids on guided hunts or had a farm that their kids could hunt on. Most were one in the same . So from that very few kids that hunt so they all play sports and talk about sports not hunting. My kids played just about every sport they could and were definitely not lazy but they had really no way to hunt unless I wanted to take them out of school and drive a long way to hunt maybe once a year ! I did have my kids in archery because you could shoot in the church basement and at 3d close to home but to actually hunt not really practical easier to go to the local ball diamond , soccer pitch or local ice rink ! Plus back then when they were young I was putting a lot of time working just to pay to live descent and only had time after work and maybe weekends but I worked a lot of those to. I had a friend (more of a work acquaintance) that took his kid out to his back 100 acres to hunt all the time but he was the exception unfortunately.

From: Bou'bound
13-Feb-18
for many of todays kids have too many options and expectations for far more "action" than hunting can provide. the lack of easy access to quality experiences is a major factor as well, as it societal norms that just make it less acceptable an activity than it used to me.

From: Hawkeye
13-Feb-18
" 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. "

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.

From: 12yards
13-Feb-18
Son #1: Took him fishing, duck hunting, and bow hunting. One of the first times out with him he got a shot at a doe and missed over the back. Sat other times and saw deer. It never grabbed him. He doesn't bow hunt but likes to duck hunt. He's a social kid. Loves to talk and socialize. Duck hunting fits his personality more. You can stand there and shoot the breeze until birds are sighted. There's more action (at times) and he likes the constant stimulation.

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.

From: Zim1
13-Feb-18
I took my three sons camping and fishing many times when they were young. They were invited virtually every time I went hunting. I owned 45 prime wooded acres loaded with deer and other wildlife. Didn’t matter. Their wretched mother controlled and manipulated them. That combined with video games sealed the deal. But I have no regrets because I know I tried my best, without force feeding them. They are all grown and moved away now, and I still send invites to join me on trips. Never accepted. My ex is pure garbage and I just thank god she is gone.

From: shiloh
13-Feb-18
We had 5 children at my house Sunday afternoon after church. It was 38 deg with a heavy mist and about 8mph north wind. It was a little uncomfortable even for me to be out without being dressed for it. The two friends didn't even come in the house when we got home and my 3 only went in to change. They played in the woods until I had to go whistle them in to change and head back for church. My just turned 3 year old did call it quits after falling in the ditch and getting soaked, but from the reddish color of his skin it appeared that he had been wet for some time until it just got too cold. I told my wife that I was proud that they were not inside watching the stupid TV! We are blessed to live on a significant size property and they should always have opportunity to be outside. We will not push trophy hunting until they have had the opportunity to kill a pile of critters. This is bittersweet for me selfishly, but it is the way it will be. Sitting in heated shooting house waiting on one to come out that is worthy of a $450 shoulder mount has turned off a lot of kids around here. I had to cut the skin on my first deer to see the little bumps on his head. It's probably gonna be a while before any of mine have a phone as well. These kids ranged from 3-10 years. We are not perfect and sometimes I am a little selfish and lazy with getting them out at their age because it is such a pain in the butt, but I will trudge on and know that it will pay off in the long run. My dad says the best thing that he did when I was young was to leave me at the house crying because I couldn't go with him!!

From: Pat Lefemine
13-Feb-18

Pat Lefemine's embedded Photo
Matt with a bunch of coyotes
Pat Lefemine's embedded Photo
Matt with a bunch of coyotes
Pat Lefemine's embedded Photo
My son Pat with a morning's shoot of geese. Him and his buddies killed just shy of 300 geese this season and probably 50 ducks.
Pat Lefemine's embedded Photo
My son Pat with a morning's shoot of geese. Him and his buddies killed just shy of 300 geese this season and probably 50 ducks.
I am so fortunate that both my sons are hunting addicts. Just not with big game - but that's OK. My son Matt is a predator hunting nut and my oldest son Pat is obsessed with waterfowl. They like the Big game as a distraction every so often but they are both gunners at heart. I have no problem with that. The only downside is my eldest son is hunting so much it's affecting his ability to graduate college. He hunts every day and sets up his class schedule so he can hunt almost every morning of the week.

From: grubby
13-Feb-18
do you guys think that maybe its okay and not "wrong" if not everyone wants to hunt or fish? I don't understand it but its okay with me.

13-Feb-18
Agree with cnelk, SBH, APauls. Just because a child doesn't have an interest in hunting doesn't mean there's something "wrong" with him/her, or that you as a parent somehow "failed".

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.

13-Feb-18
I live in the Chicago Metropolitan Area and have three kids. It's a constant combined challenge. Pressures from the schools and teachers. Lack of free time. Lack of access.

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.

From: Jaquomo
13-Feb-18
I want to correct my number of "40M hunters in 1970". I looked back at my source (USFWS SURVEY) and they have since corrected their data. Their original published 1970 number was based on kids 12 and over who went hunting with family. Their current survey metrics only include those 16 and over. Correcting for consistency, the number of hunters 16 or over has remained virtually flat since then, although the U.S. population has increased by close to 60%

From: Pat Lefemine
13-Feb-18
I don't see anyone saying there is anything wrong with kids who don't hunt - they are just asking the question why the decline? It's a perfectly valid question with no judgement directed at anyone's kids. I think some of you guys may be getting a bit defensive.

From: cnelk
13-Feb-18
"Family vacations are not approved absences. Winter, Spring and Summer breaks are the appropriate time for those activities."

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"

Done.

From: Jaquomo
13-Feb-18

Jaquomo's Link
Here's the link to the most comprehensive study ever done on this topic, from the National Shooting Sports Foundation. It's a PDF file, 250 pages long, that examines every aspect of hunter participation trends, reasons for the decline, demographic changes, etc.. It's a great resource.

13-Feb-18
Grubby - I'm OK with other people's kids not wanting to hunt and fish. I just don't like them denigrating the culture and choices of my kids.

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.

From: Wayniac
13-Feb-18
I think its a huge combination of things - the modern conveniences, short attention spans, current outlooks on hunters & guns, parents that do not want to be bothered or make time/sacrifices, accessibility/diminishing access, the actions of some folk when on state land, and some of the professional hunting shows and "reality" shows..

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".

From: grubby
13-Feb-18
I definitely see how living in Chicago would be different than here. I'm not sure how I would deal with that and am sure glad I don't have to. Here the kids get "deer Monday" as a holiday, that's the first Monday of gun season. Often they are encouraged to bring "parts" in for science class. Ive been around people that were anti but never to the degree s=you guys that live in a urban environment have.

From: Mad Trapper
13-Feb-18
My son is an advid bowhunter, turkey hunter, trapper, etc. My daughter does not hunt or trap, but she likes to shoot. I think that states like PA are missing the boat by prohibiting hunting on Sunday. Farmers don't want to be "bothered" by people on Sunday and simply can't bring themselves to post their ground with 'No Hunting on Sunday" signs. Yet they are the same people who complain about crop damage and having too many deer. Utter BS. Hunter recruitment in PA continues to decline and while this may not be the biggest contributing factor, I maintain that it is a significant one that is easily removed. PA is fifty years behind other states.

From: Irishman
13-Feb-18
I'm not sure that growth in the US population as a whole would be expected to result in a growth in hunter numbers. I thing the percentage of Urban versus Rural is a key factor in the decline in hunters as a percentage of the total population. In a lot of rural areas, populations have declined over the decades. Adding a million people to the population of LA or New York City is probably not going to do anything for hunter numbers.

From: Bowriter
13-Feb-18
I suggest we all go back and read Pat's post. I might also mention, there are a few who say, hunter numbers are not declining.

From: 12yards
13-Feb-18
The question I have is: How many of us would be hunters today if we were just starting out now? I'm sure we'd all think that we would be, but is it the truth? Would we be sucked in by the sports/electronics/phones, etc. that kids get hooked on now? I think some of us would be just like the kids of today.

From: Irishman
13-Feb-18
I don't know anywhere that I hunt, where the numbers of bow-hunters is not significantly higher than it was when I was hunting 25 years ago. So in areas of Montana where there is lots of public land the number of hunters is definitely way up from what it used to be. I think also that a lot of people 50 years ago would go out one day, shoot a doe for meat, and be done hunting for the year. More people today will hunt for multiple weeks at a time, so maybe less hunters in total, but more hunters in the field on any given day.

From: deerslayer
13-Feb-18
I was the youngest of five kids by a long shot. (3 older bros and 1 sis - closest in age to me was 8 years older) In Michigan you couldn't bow hunt until 12 and the gun minimum was 14. From the time I was old enough to talk all I could dream about was getting to go hunting with the guys. I also had an extreme love for guns as a little guy. When I was around 7 dad started taking me out here and there. Also took me skeet shooting occasionally, which really helped because there was an aura and mystique about "real" guns. When I was finally old enough to hunt dad made sure I got out a lot. He built a ridiculous plywood ground blind, baited it heavy, and we slept in it overnight. The next day I killed my first deer. From then till now rarely a day goes by when hunting isn't on my mind at some point through the day. Looking back I think there are probably a number of things that contributed to it. Being the youngest with much older brothers really helped. When I got old enough to hunt it was a year before I killed my first, and although I shot a lot of stuff as a kid I still had to work for it. I was 15 before I shot my first buck and 16 before I shot my first buck with a bow. As already alluded to I think it is often handed to kids now a days, and it removes some of the drive to accomplish a hard to reach goal. I have a bunch of nephews, and many of them have killed deer. However, not a single one of them has even half the passion of their uncles. (My oldest brother pretty much doesn't hunt anymore, but the other 2 are still very into it).

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.

From: LINK
13-Feb-18
I guess the DNA material that produces hunters is just not a prevalent as it used to be. ;) A lot of “personality” and “DNA” is God given but a lot is learned as well and at a very early age. It’s never too early to start shooting and talking about where your meat comes from and less time watching emotional left wing cartoons.

From: Fuzzy
13-Feb-18
couldn't say...

13-Feb-18
I'm with you cnelk. I did not alter my plans. The threat of "The Permanent Record" rang a little hollow with me. I doubt that some future admissions counselor is going to frown across a desk at my kid and query, "Would you like to explain this unexcused absence you had in the third grade?"

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.

From: elkstabber
13-Feb-18
Parenting style has a lot to do with whether their kids will turn into hunters. To start with my family eats venison instead of beef at home. We will only eat beef at a fast food place or maybe a special dinner out with extended family. The two kids love venison steak nights at home. These experiences are in Virginia on private land.

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.

From: LINK
13-Feb-18
I agree with Orion and cnelk. There’s alot of education that should go on outside of a school and my kids can’t help it if they want to see the aspens turn red. Not many places in my budget where fall happens in July. I’ll take my kids out of school to hunt out of state if they want too. Life doesn’t always happen in June and July. Don’t let education get in the way of their learning.

From: tradmt
13-Feb-18
It's the compound bow's fault.

From: Nesser
13-Feb-18

Nesser's embedded Photo
Nesser's embedded Photo
Both of daughters took their hunter safety course last week...at this point they’re completely pumped to hunt so we’ll try to keep the fire stoked!

From: buc i 313
13-Feb-18
When it ceases to be enjoyable neither children or adults do not want to participate . Enjoyable is up to every individual to decide on.

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

:^}

From: LINK
13-Feb-18

LINK's embedded Photo
LINK's embedded Photo
Family vacation to the Black Hills 3rd week of September. Girls missed a week of education but seeing sylvan lake bathed in fall color and Mount Rushmore without hoards of people was worth it. ;)

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.

13-Feb-18
I had all of my children take hunters education, and trappers education. I never cared if they actually participated, that was up to them. I simply wanted my children to understand what hunting, gun safety, and trapping was............... so they could make educated choices for themselves.

From: elkstabber
13-Feb-18
I forgot to mention in the post above how important it is to get the kids shooting early. Start with a 22 and let them knock over soda cans. If you can afford it use full cans and shake them up before the kid shoots. They'll love the spray and explosion if they hit it right. Make it fun. Hang the can from a string and see if they can hit it swinging - they won't but they'll love trying. Stack up the shot cans in a pyramid and shoot the bottom ones to see them all fall down. You get the idea.

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.

From: RutnStrut
13-Feb-18
Number one reason for losing hunters imo is lack of land to hunt on. Add to that the DNR at least in WI just feeds the instant gratification syndrome. They create special seasons for kids, eliminate age limits, try to make it easy as possible. But they don't care to try to increase access to quality land. Nor do they try to maintain or better the herd they want more people using.

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.

13-Feb-18

Charlie Rehor's embedded Photo
Charlie Rehor's embedded Photo
Many times it’s genetic. Some do, some don’t. When someone with no parent direction takes up hunting it’s genetic. After all, the only reason any of us are here today is because our bloodline were excellent hunters.

From: Sage Buffalo
13-Feb-18
Technically there is a decline in number of hunters but it's not why you think.

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.

From: TXHunter
13-Feb-18
Two biggest factors: 1)Urbanization. The vast majority of kids today grow up in urban areas - most of their fathers did too. We are two to three generations into urban life and that trend will only escalate. Hunting and the outdoors is simply not a part of the American experience for most anymore. 2)Technology/instant gratification/short attention spans wrought by 24/7 stimulation and entertainment that is our culture today.

From: grindersonly
13-Feb-18
RutnStrut +100 Exactly what I was thinking!!

13-Feb-18
Is there truly a lack of land to hunt on, or lack of FREE and convenient land to hunt on?

From: Jaquomo
13-Feb-18

Jaquomo's embedded Photo
Jaquomo's embedded Photo

13-Feb-18

orionsbrother's embedded Photo
orionsbrother's embedded Photo
You crack me up Jimmy.

Yeah. The convenient hunting land isn't free.

From: elk yinzer
13-Feb-18
Interesting discussion. First thread in months I've read all the way through. Especially appreciate the personal anecdotes about parenting. The broad generalizations, hypocrisy, and judgements get a little old when it comes to this topic. Personally I am a millennial and being a millennial I know the habits of the millennial pretty well. I think the generational/instant gratification/technology excuse is complete bullshit.

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.

From: SDHNTR(home)
13-Feb-18
I never understand this stuff. I get the numbers, yet every time I step into the woods, there are way more hunters. Every time I apply for a hunt, it gets way harder to draw. Every time I shop a guided hunt somewhere it is getting way more expensive. All of this doesn't happen if hunter numbers are declining. Do the statistics match reality?

From: cnelk
13-Feb-18
"Every time I apply for a hunt, it gets way harder to draw. Every time I shop a guided hunt somewhere it is getting way more expensive. All of this doesn't happen if hunter numbers are declining."

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

From: Jaquomo
13-Feb-18
You guys should take the time to look through the data and conclusions in the link I posted above, the detailed analysis by NSSF of demographic trends, the reasons why younger folks aren't continuing to hunt, and why hunter numbers are declining slightly and about ready to decline more than slightly. This wasn't based upon a forum sampling of a few dozen hunters, but from many different agency surveys of many thousands of hunters.

Will address most of the questions being posed on this thread.

13-Feb-18
SDHNTR - The sprawl keeps sprawling further. The parcels keep getting cut up smaller and more pieces are owned by non-hunting or anti-hunting people. Even with declining numbers, there's more competition for fewer acres.

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...

From: DB999
13-Feb-18
This is easily the best thread I've seen in a while. I have read every word on this thread (sorry boss - slow day) and I love getting opinions, whether or not I agree, as I am 30 years old, 2 girls under 3 and like to believe I got the "gene" from my dad as some of you have put it.

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.

From: deerslayer
13-Feb-18
" 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 "

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.

From: Will
13-Feb-18
I enjoyed LINK's comment so much I apologize to the rest of you for just looking at pictures from there to here before commenting!

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" :)!

From: LINK
13-Feb-18
My daughter came unglued on a forkie this year, after that she got deer fever on anything and everything. Fun stuff. She didn’t know what had overcame her until I told her it’s normal. Ha

From: Will
13-Feb-18
Just bounced back on the memory of a walk on the trail across the street from Mt Rushmore. July 4, sun's setting and the gloaming is coming on. we are walking up the trail, back towards the parking area, hoping to catch the fireworks once the sun goes down (that was great)... Going up the trail, our son is about 20 steps ahead of the other 3 kids (our girl, and my niece and nephew) who are just in front of the 4 of us. We spot a mulie doe, about 10yds off the trail, watching the unruly kids approach.

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...

13-Feb-18

orionsbrother's embedded Photo
orionsbrother's embedded Photo
Will - FWIW - We "camp" even when conflicts make things challenging. One of the tents goes up. The kids get to experiment with tarp configurations. We cook Mountain House or Alpine Aire meals. Stalk my 3D target with our bows. Fire up some old school Jiffy-Pop popcorn over a Hobo stove. Toss a PaqLite and maybe even some battery powered Christmas lights into the tent and tell hunting stories and read Jack London stories by headlamp. I'm getting to the point where the older ones can be the audience for some Capstick stories.

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.

From: Jaquomo
13-Feb-18

Jaquomo's embedded Photo
Fly fishing the North Platte river with a fly rod and flies she made herself
Jaquomo's embedded Photo
Fly fishing the North Platte river with a fly rod and flies she made herself
Jaquomo's embedded Photo
Three years later...
Jaquomo's embedded Photo
Three years later...
My how quickly they change. My daughter at 13

From: tobywon
13-Feb-18

tobywon's embedded Photo
tobywon's embedded Photo
So far so good, but between sports, scouts, school it would be helpful if the 2 states that I hunt in would allow Sunday Hunting!!!! I would love to take him squirrel hunting this weekend, but he has swim trials on Saturday. At least we can hopefully get out ice fishing on Sunday.

From: LINK
13-Feb-18
Will my kids really are the best! Lol. We do watch some Disney movies with their leftist slant. I’m probably to quick to explain to my kids the personification given animals is not real and that lions are not the keepers of the balance in the circle of life. ;) My kids lack of access to screens might be borderline extreme but I will say it’s a solid recipe for kids that love the outdoors. Whether killing is in them or not there’s not one mountain or hill they’ve seen an not asked to climb to the top. I do a lot of things wrong but depriving my kids of electronics is something I’ll never regret.

From: LINK
13-Feb-18

LINK's embedded Photo
LINK's embedded Photo
1 more picture!

From: Bake
13-Feb-18

Bake's embedded Photo
Bake's embedded Photo
As a parent of a 5 year old daughter, this is the type of stuff I worry about. Not hunting per se, but just growing into a useful human being who knows where meat comes from and isn't a whining crying liberal snowflake. . . .

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 :)

From: Bake
13-Feb-18
I should add. . . it definitely helps that we live right on the farm. Can shoot and ride right outside the door. Hunting and fishing is just minutes away.

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

From: jjb4900
13-Feb-18
I don't know if your son or daughter not taking up hunting is a mistake you can blame on yourself, especially if you make the attempt to guide them towards it. There is no question it's a different world then it was 30-40 years ago and that has to be taken into account. I've always been a hunter, but that's how I grew up, it was just something that you did...my daughter was totally into it as a young woman, but it never stuck as she got older, she is and has always been a total outdoors person but killing things isn't for her. I took my son for many years, and he was successful and took a few animals, but it never took hold and sucked him in. I don't begrudge either of them for not sticking with it or blame myself in the least bit for that...sure I would love if they shared the passion I do, but they both are great people and in the end that's what matters to me.

13-Feb-18
School sports makes it very difficult to get my grandkids out. And a lot of people fear Lyme disease, all three of my grandsons have went home with ticks, just from my yard. Their mother doesn't like it. And then comes the electronics.

Very few people like solitude now days. It is used for punisment.

From: AZ8
13-Feb-18
Sports. They have become 365, 24/7 activities. Even pre High School. There are non-school city leagues where teams travel from city to city, 12 months a year.

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.

From: Bowriter
13-Feb-18
According to Nick Muche, we are all wrong. He posted this.

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.

From: Pigsticker
13-Feb-18
It’s all bunk, we are evolving into a dysfunctional society of pomp and circumstance. Superfluous, superficial, and unsubstantitive. Guys have to get a kitchen pass to go hunting. You have grown men who let their wives go to bed while they play video games. They want to sleep in the morning and it takes to much discipline to get up and get out. We as in the greater we are a dyeing breed. We embrace the harshness, unknown, and the uncertainty of the quest. You can do your very best but eventually the choice is theirs. You make as many and force whatever you can but ultimately it’s their choice. This does mean that they are bad or that they are not productive members of society but regardless of all the pontification the numbers continue to dwindle.

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.

From: Jaquomo
13-Feb-18
Bowriter, so much is subjective with the numbers, as I posted in my correction by the USFWS to their own set of metrics. But virtually every credible survey shows numbers either flat or declining slightly over the past 10 years, to somewhere around 11.5-12M actual "hunters".

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?

From: Trial153
13-Feb-18
Good question that I don’t have the answers to. My guess is there is way too many factors to point to just one and like anything it’s all the cululation of what life is right now. While I believe there are declining numbers I sure don’t see it in regards to increased opportunity for existing hunters and future hunters. Furthermore the over monatization of hunting is staggering. I seen that in my life time alone. No way an average guy in his 20 today’s can afford to the things I did just a short 20 years ago at today’s costs.

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.

From: trophyhill
13-Feb-18
Alot of factors. Not to mention the garbage kids are taught in school with only the liberal=anti point of view.....

13-Feb-18
I remember hearing a statistic stating that if the father is a hunter there is a 50% chance the child will hunt. If the mother is a hunter the percentage that the child will hunt jumps to over 90%.

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.

From: Treeline
13-Feb-18

Treeline's embedded Photo
Treeline's embedded Photo
Treeline's embedded Photo
Treeline's embedded Photo
Treeline's embedded Photo
Treeline's embedded Photo
Treeline's embedded Photo
Treeline's embedded Photo
Unfortunately, as a single parent, my boy had to go and do whatever I was doing. Sometimes, I am sure there are some who would have turned me in for child abuse...

From: Treeline
13-Feb-18

Treeline's embedded Photo
Treeline's embedded Photo
Treeline's embedded Photo
Treeline's embedded Photo
Treeline's embedded Photo
Treeline's embedded Photo
Treeline's embedded Photo
Treeline's embedded Photo
Take 'em with you!

From: TreeWalker
13-Feb-18
All my kids hunted and fished. As they got into organized sports the season for a sport never really ends like it did when I was a kid. I played football, basketball and golf. By the time my kids were 12 the message was clear: If you wanted to play varsity sports then pick one sport and get on board with year round strength training, club teams that traveled, summer camps, PE that was really more practice for just one sport, etc.

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.

From: Pigsticker
13-Feb-18
It’s an end to an era. There was a time when teachers would walk home and shoot wild game along the way. Wild game was a staple of many households.

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.

14-Feb-18
I introduced my son and daughter to hunting and shooting at young ages. They both learned to shoot bows and rifles. Both enjoy upland hunting with our pointer and like to go with me when they are home. There is lots of action and it is social and laid back. We have an annual pheasant hunt the Friday after Thanksgiving with a bunch of family friends that both love attending. My son has killed a couple deer with a rifle. He hunts 4-5 days on our land each year. It is not his passion like it is mine but enjoys and understands it. I am colorblind and both are very good trackers and happily help when I need them . Both kids love venison and I am happy to provide it. I don't think anything went wrong. They were introduced. I made it as enjoyable as I could and they choose to hunt a little. The world is different than when I grew up and they have their own interests like I have hunting. They are 27 and 24. I am thankful for any time we can spend together.

From: deerslayer
14-Feb-18

deerslayer's embedded Photo
deerslayer's embedded Photo
deerslayer's embedded Photo
My oldest
deerslayer's embedded Photo
My oldest
deerslayer's embedded Photo
deerslayer's embedded Photo
deerslayer's embedded Photo
deerslayer's embedded Photo
Since we're showing pics.....

Camping trip from this past summer.

From: deerslayer
14-Feb-18

deerslayer's embedded Photo
deerslayer's embedded Photo
deerslayer's embedded Photo
You know you've done your job!
deerslayer's embedded Photo
You know you've done your job!
deerslayer's embedded Photo
They all love venison steaks!!
deerslayer's embedded Photo
They all love venison steaks!!
deerslayer's embedded Photo
Last one..... a few years ago. One of my favorites.
deerslayer's embedded Photo
Last one..... a few years ago. One of my favorites.

From: TFTS
14-Feb-18

TFTS's Link
My thoughts are: 1) The decrease in hunters is in large part a generation aging out of hunting. Baby boomers we're the largest generation (in terms of population) until recently passed by millenials. Boomers have made up a large portion of the hunting numbers. The average deer hunter is now 56 years old (data from my conversations with QDMA buddies/study) and begins to age out of license purchase etc. By the time their 70 thier completely out of the circuit in most cases. To me this is the "why" are numbers dropping. The second part of this is the recruitment/ "why can't we replace those who age out with new hunters. 2) Recruitment has a lot of challenges. My humble opinion is that we've been focused on the wrong audience. Introducing youth to hunting is great and needed...but if you introduce a 10 year old to hunting...he/she may or may not hunt ever again...they have very little say (and zero money) in the activities they consistently pursue. I think the opportunity that is being missed is the late 20's to early/late 30's guy or girl, who needs an escape from the doldrums of office life. There's a "new age" term people are using called "forrest bathing" fore escaping to the timber...we here call it hunting or scouting, that people escape to the timber to decompress. This in my opinion is a trend to capitalize on to introduce adults who are interested in connecting with nature in a deeper way. For example, I have a friend at work who has never in his life hunted...I'm taking him turkey hunting this spring. He wants a new experience and a place to have some solitude away from the demands of work and family...enter hunting.

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!

From: elk yinzer
15-Feb-18
I am of the opinion too that demographic shift is a significant factor. Anecdotally it is very simple to see in PA. Our hunting culture and license sales used to consist of a large percentage of guys (it was all men) that hunted maybe 3-5 days a year. They had camps in the T they came to from Pgh and Phl. They hunted the first week of rifle and went back to city life for another year. Those guys have largely aged out but have been replaced by a constant growing segment of dedicated bowhunters (and gasp...crossbowhunters). So we've replaced casual hunters with dedicated hunters at less than a one to one ratio. But again, I ask, is that such a bad thing? Unless it affects your bottom line I assert it is not.

From: the_runner
15-Feb-18
i can only speak to my situation (dad to a 5 & 2 year old), its a combination of 1) time and 2) lack of areas to hunt. 1) time - i like to think that there will be more time when they are a little bigger and self sufficient, i.e. packing a diaper bag to a ground blind is not ideal. that said, 100% of parents i talk with who have kids older than mine say i have not begun to see how busy the kids schedules are about to get with soccer, track, dance, swimming, etc... 2) lack of access - this is mostly due to moving and not having the places i grew up hunting. i hunt a county park program within the city limit, but there is a minimum age for kids to qualify and they cannot tag along as non-hunters. add to that living in the suburbs and it takes more effort to get to an gun/ archery range (see #1 above).

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.

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