Is Hunting Dying?
General Topic
Contributors to this thread:
Kevin Dill 03-Feb-20
hawkeye in PA 03-Feb-20
Fields 03-Feb-20
TrapperKayak 03-Feb-20
TrapperKayak 03-Feb-20
Trial153 03-Feb-20
Bou'bound 03-Feb-20
Catscratch 03-Feb-20
x-man 03-Feb-20
Missouribreaks 03-Feb-20
PushCoArcher 03-Feb-20
bigdog21 03-Feb-20
Grey Ghost 03-Feb-20
Mule Power 03-Feb-20
Shawn 03-Feb-20
APauls 03-Feb-20
Trial153 03-Feb-20
wyobullshooter 03-Feb-20
12yards 03-Feb-20
Fuzzy 03-Feb-20
Buffalo1 03-Feb-20
Charlie Rehor 03-Feb-20
Bowbender 03-Feb-20
MichaelArnette 03-Feb-20
12yards 03-Feb-20
bigdog21 03-Feb-20
Trad PA 03-Feb-20
ahunter76 03-Feb-20
Ermine 03-Feb-20
HeadHunter® 03-Feb-20
Will 03-Feb-20
Timex 03-Feb-20
HH 03-Feb-20
GF 03-Feb-20
Jaquomo 03-Feb-20
Jaquomo 03-Feb-20
wyobullshooter 03-Feb-20
RK 03-Feb-20
wkochevar 03-Feb-20
Kevin Dill 04-Feb-20
K Cummings 04-Feb-20
South Farm 04-Feb-20
K Cummings 04-Feb-20
Grey Ghost 04-Feb-20
Missouribreaks 04-Feb-20
Jaquomo 04-Feb-20
Grey Ghost 04-Feb-20
Jaquomo 04-Feb-20
Grey Ghost 04-Feb-20
x-man 04-Feb-20
Timex 04-Feb-20
K Cummings 04-Feb-20
LBshooter 04-Feb-20
South Farm 04-Feb-20
Grey Ghost 04-Feb-20
Missouribreaks 04-Feb-20
K Cummings 04-Feb-20
Quinn @work 04-Feb-20
Grey Ghost 04-Feb-20
Jaquomo 04-Feb-20
K Cummings 04-Feb-20
Scooby-doo 04-Feb-20
Timex 04-Feb-20
RK 04-Feb-20
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svrelk 04-Feb-20
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Heat 05-Feb-20
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flip 05-Feb-20
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lawdy 13-Feb-20
bigtines 17-Feb-20
03-Feb-20

Habitat for Wildlife's Link
Washington Post article implies it is unless things change.

03-Feb-20

Habitat for Wildlife's Link

From: Kevin Dill
03-Feb-20
No, it's not dying. It is declining (in certain states and areas) for many reasons, and I personally think all those reasons combine to create a nearly insurmountable obstacle to growth. Just a few reasons I can think of:

Pressure/competition for the discretionary dollar

Obesity

Ambivalence toward the killing of animals

Lack of early indoctrination into the culture of hunting

Mothers-In-Law ;-)

Nat Geo

Walt Disney

Al Gore (the internet)

Smart Phones (have we ever seen a more ubiquitous distraction for humans?)

The media and anti-gun drumbeat going on for decades

Limited land access is a huge factor in my opinion.

Our aging demographic

Diseased wildlife, or the perception of such

Hunting is a perceived hassle. So many regulations. Gun laws. Hunter education maybe. Competition for limited access. Cost of admission. Time commitment. And so on.....

03-Feb-20
IMHO yes. Pennsylvania Game Commission says license sales are up, then hunters are hunting hours instead of days. Agree with Mr. Dill, also believe ticks are another cause.

From: Fields
03-Feb-20
yes

From: TrapperKayak
03-Feb-20
Washington Post.... Lol! I'm dying to go hunting...

From: TrapperKayak
03-Feb-20
Actually a decent article. Surprised. I think this is true: 'They say there’s not time between school and after-school activities,'.... We always had time and made it happen because we could BRING OUR WEAPONS TO SCHOOL IN OUR VEHICLES AND HAVE THEM THERE AFTER PRACTICE, AND USE THEM. I actually used to go out behind the football field and hunt..carry the gun right across school property. Had it in the truck rack right in plain sight in the school parking lot. Actually, if you didnt have that, you were the exception.

From: Trial153
03-Feb-20
Yes the ball heading down hill and hunters themselves will be the ones that give the ball the final push with their desire for exclusivity.

From: Bou'bound
03-Feb-20
Only in the sense defection is faster than recruitment. Now trapping is on another plane in terms of eradication

From: Catscratch
03-Feb-20
It might be dying, not sure. It is certainly changing.

From: x-man
03-Feb-20
Once our generation is gone, public land hunting will not survive. As long as hunters continue to pay high dollar lease and guide fees, the hunt will slowly die. 50 years from now, all hunting will be done on private "pay-to-hunt" properties. That huge ball is already rolling down the hill.

03-Feb-20
I have been purchasing hunting licenses for 55 years and yes hunting is becoming more unpopular. Kevin Dill mentioned many reasons. I think it is also partly due to a cultural shift away from rural living and agricultural. There was a time when small farms flourished and almost all families ( voters) had some connection to farming and rural living. Hunting was not exploited for trophies, it was simply what one did on the farm, trapping too. Voters had no issue with hunting and trapping to supplement incomes and table fare. That is NOT why hunting exists today and voters are becoming distanced and disgusted with killing for the thrill, and commercialism. Hunters have to own up to the image they have created, and it is not positive to the voters.

Will it die completely, not likely in the next generation or two, but it will become more unpopular with voters and largely confined to remote public areas, and private lands.

From: PushCoArcher
03-Feb-20
Very well said Missouribreaks couldn't agree more. Still everytime I see one of these articles I wonder why in the hell the draw odds out west continually get harder.

From: bigdog21
03-Feb-20
disease , more predator's then before not near as many people trap, are coon and coyote hunt like they use to no money in it anymore that meets todays standers of money making, a lot of head hunters have gone I know some if they can not find bigger than what they have they are wasting there time. and deer heard numbers have dropped in the last 20 years. to many killing for numbers game and not just table far. I use to see 20 deer a night standing out behind the barn now lucky to see five a week.

From: Grey Ghost
03-Feb-20
I agree with Missouribreaks, the commercialization of hunting has been killing the sport for the last 40-50 years, and we have no one to blame but ourselves. Horn porn, private leases, outfitting, hunting website owners buying property purely on the basis of its trophy deer population, etc..etc......greed and selfishness will ultimately be huntings demise.

Matt

From: Mule Power
03-Feb-20
I’d say yes. When we were kids out of 4 of us couldn’t wait to turn 12 to be able to hunt. We took our tests when we were11 1/2 and got right down to business.... like the adults we knew were doing.

Now at least half of the adults with young children don’t even hunt so they get no exposure or motivation to do it and I’d speculate that maybe 1 out of 10 or more turns off the video games long enough to even think about it.

I find it depressing.

From: Shawn
03-Feb-20
No doubt it's dying. It's actually getting easier to ask permission and get it in the areas I hunt. Used to be I would

From: APauls
03-Feb-20
You never know. Things go in swings. I can't imagine for the life of me that 20 years from now the average ______ will be carrying on getting offended by literally anything. The biggest problem is that the average person today has zero connection to the reality of nature, or the reality of where their food comes from. When they make that connection, their stance on hunting isn't an issue. Will that societal change shift back to a connection to your food and to nature? Who knows.

From: Trial153
03-Feb-20
Yes we have monetized it to point of no return.

03-Feb-20
It may be dying in many states/areas, but it certainly isn't dying in Wyoming. Every year, I see more hunters, whether it's elk, deer, antelope, pheasant, geese, etc. The only exception has been moose, and that's due to a decline in resources, not demand.

From: 12yards
03-Feb-20
Hunting dying has nothing to do with horn porn.

From: Fuzzy
03-Feb-20
I think it's more a paradigm shift

From: Buffalo1
03-Feb-20
Check our attendance and auction receipts at 2019 and 2020 Dallas Safari Club Conventions. Things seems to be steady and improving.

03-Feb-20
Some do, some don’t.

Support the P&Y Youth raffle if you want to have a positive impact. We tend to think about our generation which doesn’t matter if we don’t clear the path for the next.

From: Bowbender
03-Feb-20
"We tend to think about our generation which doesn’t matter if we don’t clear the path for the next."

Charlie,

We HAVE cleared the path. At least here in PA. We have mentored youth hunts. We have youth hunts. Sunday hunting is being legalised in PA mainly because of youth an extra-curricular activities. Hunting is no longer THE thing to do, but something to be squeezed in between travel soccer, travel baseball, fall baseball, volleyball, swimming, music lessons, ballet and a host of others. Parents have enrolled their kids in every activity under the sun. Hunting is no longer a priority. If it was, well, it would be.

03-Feb-20
I’m 30... I’ve never had more competition with other hunters (especially during bow seasons) than now...this “declining hunter numbers” stuff is getting old because access is getting harder and harder to get

From: 12yards
03-Feb-20
Bowbender got it right, and the urbanization of humanity is the other main reason.

From: bigdog21
03-Feb-20
M A wait tell its hunted out most likely pushed out with heavy traffic then there will be no pressure.

From: Trad PA
03-Feb-20
Society is changing and with it so are views on hunting; if hunting is grow or even survive it needs to be redefined to fit into a changing society, if it doesn’t I think it’ll be left behind and the signs of that are already around us.

From: ahunter76
03-Feb-20

ahunter76's embedded Photo
ahunter76's embedded Photo
I remember when my home state (Illinois) sold 5000 Archery Resident Deer tags. NOW, they have more than that sold for Non Residents. I have 5 adult kids (2 bowhunt biggame & 1 Small game) 15 G-kids with 4 Bowhunting biggame & 2 more starting Archery. Everyone fishes. My adult son is a dedicated, successful archer/bowhunter now & has EIGHT buddies that are also dedicated Bowhunters & get together often to shoot (we shoot 3-Ds & often have 8 or more go together). I think much of it depends on where you live (town. city size). IF a parent or relative is involved in outdoor activity & shooting sports & gives the younger a chance to "try it". Access to a place to go. Now, that being said, I have 6 G-kids in basketball, baseball, Football, Soccer, Wrestling, Piano & have NO IDEA how they find the time to do anything else with all the practice & games (I attended 2 different events Sat). I know they won't be going hunting as "their parents" don't but they did play other sports.

From: Ermine
03-Feb-20
Interesting. Seems to me it’s more popular then ever out west. All the cool kids are bowhunting. I see more hunters out there than ever before. People hunting everywhere. Seems like number wise it’s not dying.

But I think our opportunities and rights as hunters are dying.

From: HeadHunter®
03-Feb-20
Kevin Dill .... in my opinion ... covered 'just about' everything!

From: Will
03-Feb-20
Based on the trend, statistically speaking, there are fewer folks hunting than in the past overall. Many good reasons have been noted above. Not sure how it turns out, but it's certainly at an interesting point.

My suspicion is that over the next 20 years or so, there will be an influx of folks who grew up suburban, and without hunting, and opt in due to the desire for "organic" food that's close to home and the mental health component of being in the outdoors. It will be an interesting influx as it will not come with traditional hunting views or ideas, so it's likely that if this were to really occur, it would be interesting. But positive - having more folks involved is good, for the long term sustainability of what we do.

From: Timex
03-Feb-20
I live on the eastern Shore of VA. Hunting & fishing is a strong tradition here. Watermen make their living here also farm raised shellfish (aquaculture) is huge buisnes here. Waterfowl hunting is big here. The months of Jan & fed 1/3 of the pickups you see have beagle boxes in the back rabbit hunting is a big thing here and the majority of the rabbit hunters are black men. Deer hunting is very popular here but my opinion is that a picture of a set of horns on fb is far more important than a freezer full of venison anymore. There are way to many doe's in my area. Yes times have changed but hunting & fishing is a strong tradition here & isn't going away any time soon

From: HH
03-Feb-20
If the Socialists ever get control we have the model of what hunting will be for the general population. One need only look to to Western Euro countries. If you've been there to hunt you have an understanding. Then look at Hungry. Easy to hunt, not a socialist model. There is hope!!! You better know what chain to pull in November 2020 or you could 25yrs of rights overnite.

K~

From: GF
03-Feb-20
“ It may be dying in many states/areas, but it certainly isn't dying in Wyoming. Every year, I see more hunters, whether it's elk, deer, antelope, pheasant, geese, etc.”

That’s because they want to hunt and can’t find a place closer to home.

From: Jaquomo
03-Feb-20

Jaquomo's embedded Photo
Jaquomo's embedded Photo
The hunter of the future!

From: Jaquomo
03-Feb-20
Big article in today's liberal Washington Post. Wish I could post the link but I'm not a subscriber. Here's the headline: "Hunting is ‘slowly dying off,’ and that has created a crisis for the nation’s many endangered species"

03-Feb-20
“That’s because they want to hunt and can’t find a place closer to home.”

Actually, I wasn’t referring to NR in my post at all...strictly residents.

From: RK
03-Feb-20
Jaquemo

That's the article that Habitat for Wildlife posted as the OP of this thread I think??

From: wkochevar
03-Feb-20
Jaq, The link is posted above. I believe it is a very poignant and truthful article considering the source. The world better wake up cuz when we hunters disappear, so will many of the wild things the general public tends to treasure and fantasize about....they certainly are not taking care of them! Kip

04-Feb-20
Yes RK you are correct. Lou, the link is to the article you refer to. I was surprised given the source.

Lots of good points, agree with Kevin Dill and Missouri Breaks.

From: Kevin Dill
04-Feb-20
I would up-vote Jaq's post above if I could.

From: K Cummings
04-Feb-20
"There was a time when small farms flourished and almost all families ( voters) had some connection to farming and rural living. Hunting was not exploited for trophies, it was simply what one did on the farm, trapping too. Voters had no issue with hunting and trapping to supplement incomes and table fare. That is NOT why hunting exists today and voters are becoming distanced and disgusted with killing for the thrill, and commercialism. Hunters have to own up to the image they have created, and it is not positive to the voters. "

Good post.

I can't help but think about a conversation I had with a friend the other day who's son just recently informed him he no longer wanted to play hockey. This young man is extremely talented but has completely lost the desire to play a game that is feeling more and more like a job. What does this have to do with a thread about the future of hunting you might ask?

Kids (and their families) who aren't willing to invest massive amounts of time, and money, year around, in order to succeed, are increasingly losing interest in the game. Not to mention they are increasingly less welcome on teams who's coaches expect and demand that kind of commitment from entire families.

The vast majority of hunters have no desire to become farmers, habitat managers, biologists, and geneticists just to play the game. If that's what they are expected to do, or feel as thought they are, they will find something else to do.

Hunters can blame themselves (ourselves) for that.

KPC

From: South Farm
04-Feb-20
If hunting is dying why are there more and more trucks at the trailheads every fall?!? Not just in OTC units, but every piece of public land, big or small. I've never had to work so hard to escape other hunters and find a quiet piece of woods to myself as I have the last dozen years or so. I think this whole "hunting is dying" myth is a crock of sh..

From: K Cummings
04-Feb-20
South Farm:

I can't speak to your specific area but I suspect over all it is a matter of the hunters that are left are being displaced by less private property access, high lease fees, etc.

You can have a much smaller number of hunters overall but if more of them are forced to hunt a static or shrinking amount of public land, it will seem like there are more hunters than ever, but the opposite is actually the case.

Think about it, if 100 hunters equally share 5 parcels of land, that is 20hunters per parcel.

If the number of hunters shrinks to 80 but they are all hunting on 3 parcels instead of 5, that increases substantially the number of hunters per parcel.

KPC

From: Grey Ghost
04-Feb-20
"If hunting is dying why are there more and more trucks at the trailheads every fall?!?"

In Colorado it's because of human population growth and development is shrinking the available habitat, which consolidates hunters into the habitat that is left. Colorado's population has quadrupled in my lifetime. As a kid, I recall taking short rides from the Denver area with my family to view abundant wildlife. Now, those same areas are packed with residential and commercial development. It's that way up and down the front range, as well as many western slope areas. Hunter numbers have steadily declined in Colorado, and nationwide, over the last 25 years., even though it may not seem that way at your favorite trailhead.

Matt

04-Feb-20
There are for sure areas where hunting is more congested than ever. In the greater picture, national interest in hunting seems to be declining, and opposition is growing. License sales seem to indicate this. I do think those who hunt, such as myself, tend to hunt in many more places and states than back in the day of the family farm, and before the major commercial hunting boom. The fact some hunt many states and species now does create congestion in many areas. I see less interest, but those who do hunt, tend to hunt more. Modern transportation, more liberal vacation policies, and higher expendable income are perhaps some of the reasons.

From: Jaquomo
04-Feb-20
What Grey Ghost said. In most areas, hunting opportunities are becoming more compressed due to development, leasing, and in the west, more wealthy non/anti hunters buying up ranches everywhere and locking out people who hunted there previously. Mismanagement of our National Forests have created huge areas now unhuntable due to beetle kill and deadfall. Road closures everywhere are great for flatbrims, but with the average age of hunters now over 50, not so great for older guys who can no longer reach the places where they grew up hunting.

Someone really has to want to hunt these days. And for young men, in urban areas it is really uncool with girls. As fast as hunting is declining among the young, Esports are exploding. Thats a perfect "sport" for obese teenagers.

From: Grey Ghost
04-Feb-20
" ....and before the major commercial hunting boom."

You hit on a big one there, Jimmy. In my father's generation, a large percentage of hunters hunted private ranches/farms, and were welcomed by landowners, because there was little to no monetary value placed on wildlife. Then came the private leases, outfitters, and competition for the best properties. Hunters who could afford it basically slammed the door on the vast majority who couldn't. With dwindling opportunity came dwindling interest. No big revelation there.

Matt

From: Jaquomo
04-Feb-20
My generation too, Matt. Back in my 20s and early 30s I had permission to bowhunt elk on six different contiguous ranches. Now all but one are $$$ leased to outfitters. The one that isn't was bought by a wealthy older fellow for a bowhunting retreat for him and his buddies.

Around home we could get permission to bird hunt pretty much anywhere. Impossible today.

From: Grey Ghost
04-Feb-20
Lou,

Yep, my Father hunted the same ranch near Meeker for nearly 60 years, I had the pleasure to hunt it for about 25. In the early days, I vividly remember my Father trying to offer the rancher a small monetary compensation for allowing us access and an electrical hookup at his ranch house. The old rancher always flatly refused the money. We were considered welcomed guests. Then his son took over the ranch, and quickly realized the commercial value of the wildlife. He started demanding a trespass fee, which increased every year. We accepted that for what it was, and paid it. Then he leased the entire archery season to a group from Michigan for big $$$, and suddenly a friendly, loving relationship between 2 families, that spanned over 70 years, was over. That was almost 25 years ago, and it's still painful to think about.

Matt

From: x-man
04-Feb-20
And then I look at the Realtor thread and all I see is us pouring gas on the fire to slow it from burning.

From: Timex
04-Feb-20
I grew up eating small game waterfowl & fish myself & my father killed & cought. My father would say it's not that we can't afford store bought meat but why when hunting & fishing is so much fun. My father grew up poor in Texas & would also say that if it weren't for .22 bullets & jackrabbits they would have starved. Now to current times I still kill & catch raise & grow the majority of our food & take great pride in doing so but I'm the rare exception. I absolutely hunt & fish for sustenance but very few do any more they hunt for sport , excitement , horns , comrodery , but not necessarily for food so hunting is no longer a nessity in life. Thank God for the grocery store is all I have to say

From: K Cummings
04-Feb-20
Some people seem to think that a landowner that chooses to monetize his resource is a bad thing. Is it any different than a farmer selling the corn or beans he grows on his land.

How about if a landowner all of a sudden discovers natural gas on his land. Should he be expected to give it away to anyone who wants or needs it?

In my opinion, the problem is not the landowner who monetizes his resource, it's the culture that creates the demand. As long as people are willing to literally pay anything for the possibility of shooting a book animal, there will be a whole host of landowners willing to relieve them of their cash.

When demand exceeds supply, we all know what happens.

KPC

From: LBshooter
04-Feb-20
Thanks to all the horn porn by the celeb hunters the chickens are comming home to roost. The glam of the shooter buck has given new hunters a terrible view of What hunting should be all about. Hunting is about friends , family and pure outdoor adventure and it's the meat that is harvested that should be the focus. New hunters get all jazzed up about shooting a trophy and when it doesn't happen they get discouraged real quick. Outfitters charging absurd amounts of money to shoot an average deer and getting it has hurt hunting. Private land access becoming harder and harder to find, as mentioned earlier big money stepping up to secure private leases. When you commercialize hunting it tends to turn off the new and upcoming hunter. To buy a new bow,arrows, heads, etc to get started your looking at 500-1000 dollars, why? because that's what they are told by the shows they watch. The one thing the shows don't show much of Is the amount of work it takes once the Hunter makes a kill. As far as Illinois, I'm willing to bet tags will be down in the future due to these morons in the state culling the deer. I use to see groups of deer on public land and last year and this past season I was lucky to see three together, hunting is going to be tough for awhile. Hunting in 20 years will be totally different from today and years past, and I'll bet you'll see out right bans in states due to all the animal rights folks, because they are out numbering hunters big time. When you can't get a kid off the couch and away from their video consul there's not much hope for building up the newbies.

From: South Farm
04-Feb-20
Ok, next question...if habitat loss is the trend that is causing me to share my spots with more and more hunters, than isn't habitat loss, rather than hunter recruitment, the BIGGER ISSUE? Only stands to reason if you don't have habitat you don't have animals, and if you don't have animals you don't have hunters. Us older guys are beginning to either quit hunting due to old age issues, or dying off, and the younger generation is either opposed to, not interested in, or lacks a place to go hunting. So, with that in mind, "hunting dying" isn't really a problem or a crisis we need to worry about, but rather indicative of the sign of the times and a changing culture. I think for those of us that still have some years left in us to hunt, we should quit worrying about "recruitment" so much and start taking strides to ensure we have a place to hunt by either supporting habitat projects on public land or buying our own land and improving it to attract wildlife...or both! Once we're gone the next generationwill be like the proverbial horse that was led to water but couldn't be forced to drink. If the horse dies of thirst who's fault is it??

From: Grey Ghost
04-Feb-20
"Some people seem to think that a landowner that chooses to monetize his resource is a bad thing."

Some people recognize that wildlife isn't a landowner's resource, like the corn or beans he grows on his property.

Matt

04-Feb-20
I do not blame the landowners, it is the hunters who create the demand, and lay the money down.

From: K Cummings
04-Feb-20
"I do not blame the landowners, it is the hunters who create the demand, and lay the money down."

Agreed.

"Some people recognize that wildlife isn't a landowner's resource..."

I didn't say it was. However, a private place grow, protect, and hunt that wildlife most certainly is.

Wildlife might well be a "public" resource but anyone with half a brain knows that without the ability to access it, it might just as well be private.

It is a distinction without a difference.

KPC

From: Quinn @work
04-Feb-20
2 of my favorite quotes in this thread. Both made me laugh thanks guys!

“Road closures everywhere are great for flatbrims, but with the average age of hunters now over 50, not so great for older guys who can no longer reach the places where they grew up hunting”

“ Horn porn, private leases, outfitting, hunting website owners buying property purely on the basis of its trophy deer population”

04-Feb-20
South Farm said;

"...we should quit worrying about "recruitment" so much and start taking strides to ensure we have a place to hunt by either supporting habitat projects on public land or buying our own land and improving it to attract wildlife...or both!"

Spot on IMHO!

And I get many, maybe most, don't want to farm or do habitat projects for hunting but enough have figured out the mentally and physically therapeutic value of getting their hands dirty and the satisfaction received from giving back. Thanks South Farm!

From: Grey Ghost
04-Feb-20
As a Colorado landowner I CAN control what, where, and when I plant legal crops. And what I do with those resources once they are harvested.

As a Colorado landowner, I CANNOT control hunting seasons, tags, bag limits, or other hunting regulations. I CANNOT erect high fences or other structures to enclose wildlife on my property. I CANNOT intentionally place or distribute feed, or other attractants for big game animals on my property. The wildlife is free to use my property as they choose, or not. They aren't my private resource any more than the air I breath.

Anyone with "half a brain" can clearly see that distinction.

Matt

From: Jaquomo
04-Feb-20
Habitat for game animals is not so much the problem as available habitat for hunters on which to hunt. Here in CO, much of the public land is unhuntable for the majority of hunters due either to forest deterioration (deadfall, etc..) or road closures. The public land that is available is often overrun with hunters. Meanwhile huge herds of elk live virtually unmolested on big ranches with little or no hunting pressure. Hunters are aging out, dropping out due to a whole variety of reasons, and not sticking with it after they turn 16. The USFWS and NSSF stats don't lie.

This is going to lead to a massive conundrum in 20 years. Too many animals and not enough hunters to keep populations in check. Farmers, gardeners, cities and insurance companies will all be demanding that somebody do something.

From: K Cummings
04-Feb-20
"The wildlife is free to use my property as they choose, or not. They aren't my private resource any more than the air I breath."

Good grief, learn how to read. I never said they were.

Even so, I can no more enter your property to hunt public wildlife than I can enter your property to breathe public air.

KPC

From: Scooby-doo
04-Feb-20
I never finished my post!! I say it is dying because overall numbers are way down. I mean down by the millions acrossed the country from just 20 years ago. I think its funny many guys are saying it is getting harder to find places to hunt. Where I live it is getting easier, farms that used to have sevral hunters on them in the 80"s and early 90"s now have one or two. I am talking strictly big game hunting here in NY, folks are tired of the deer wrecking their shrubs and hitting them with their cars. I also believe guys that are having trouble finding spots to hunt, just don't try very hard. I know when I started hunting the midwest I knocked on hundreds of doors and thats no exaggeration. I now have good private in Nebraska, Kansas and Ohio as well as here in NY. If ya want something ya have to work hard for it!! I believe in 20 years hunting will get very good for a lot of folks because there wont be as much competition. Shawn

From: Timex
04-Feb-20
I'm with Shawn iv never had a problem finding places to hunt & within the last few years iv utilized the landowner tax maps via the hunt onx app & when I regularly see a bunch of doe's in a field I find out who owns the property & offer to kill some doe's for them. If someone doesn't care about killing bucks this is a good way to approach a landowner I'm not saying that I don't kill bucks cause I do however a freezer full of venison is always my #1 priority if a big enough buck comes by I'll kill it & be proud of it but between myself & my son we kill at least a dozen doe's each season.

04-Feb-20
Lou good point, the distinctions between farmland hunting in the east and big western public expanses. Thanks.

From: RK
04-Feb-20
GG

You are not allowed to high fence your own property in Colorado? Did the state just grandfather the high fence places that are in Coloradoand not make them take the fences down?

From: Grey Ghost
04-Feb-20
"Even so, I can no more enter your property to hunt public wildlife than I can enter your property to breathe public air."

You might, if you asked nicely. You'd have to get in line, though. I already allow enough friends to hunt my property...free of charge. I consider it my privilege and a blessing to be able to offer that opportunity to them. To bad most landowners don't feel that way, anymore.

Matt

From: Jaquomo
04-Feb-20
RK, there's a high fence place near me that used to be an elk ranch. After the DOW shut them down they removed the elk but not the fence. That's the only one I'm familiar with

From: Grey Ghost
04-Feb-20
RK,

Per Colorado code for Commercial Wildlife Parks (aka: high fence hunting operations):

"All big game animals owned by the State shall be removed from the confines of the proposed commercial area at the applicant's expense before the application for a license is approved. The applicant shall provide to the Division a plan or plans for removal. The Division shall supervise all removal operations. Where complete removal is not possible or management on site is deemed appropriate by the Division, the State must be fully compensated pursuant to written agreement for the animals and/or provide sufficient free public hunting to remove the animals."

Matt

From: RK
04-Feb-20
Jaq do you remember the name of it

From: Grey Ghost
04-Feb-20

Grey Ghost's Link
Also from Colorado code:

"Big Game Hunting Park - Issued for hunting privately owned big game animals on private property. No new big game hunting park licenses shall be issued after July 1, 1996, except when a change of ownership occurs on an existing Big Game Hunting Park The new applicant(s) must comply with all regulations in place at the time of the change of ownership when applying for the new license."

Matt

From: svrelk
04-Feb-20
I fear for our children's children. Enjoy the time you have now, cause it most certainly will end as we know it.

From: petedrummond
04-Feb-20
no rabbits left. no quail left. no pheasants no access lotta i phones . why not.

From: Jaquomo
04-Feb-20
Think it was Alpine Elk Ranch. I'll look when I drive by tomorrow. Funny story - after it shut down my late wife wanted one of the signs saying "No Hunting. Tame Elk" for my elk camp. As she was prepping to clip the wires on the sign, the owner drove up and got out yelling at her, accusing her of wanting to steal a sign. She claimed she was just letting the dog out to pee. He stormed away, and as soon as he went around the corner she clipped off the sign and got the hell out.

From: RK
04-Feb-20
Jaq..That is a priceless story and funny as hell.

GG yea the first item is what most states do when high fences go in. Since the animals belong to the state they have to be removed before the ones owned by the landowner can be released. I think they do that in a bunch of northern states.

The other probably is the grandfather clause.

My point of bringing it up was not the high fence issue. It is a landowner issue. The state or federal gov. telling you what to do with private property is a no no here. I bet you can high fence just not put animals into that fence. That makes more sense.

Thanks for the info.

From: Timex
05-Feb-20
Well I'm sorry but even in VA where our gun rights are under attack by the radical left I still don't see hunting going away. I'm starting to get the impression that some on here especially the public land hunters are city dwellers. VA WVA. Hunting is just to much A traditional way of life & God forbid they do try to take our guns the state will go bankrupt building prisons for hillbillies

From: 12yards
05-Feb-20
Yeah, I could see hunter participation decreasing, but then maybe leveling off at a lower level. I've got three boys. One is a on again, off again bowhunter. The other two are nuts about waterfowl hunting. I think the two duck hunters will stay at it, not sure about the bowhunter. Maybe, if I keep taking him he'll catch the fire. Both of the duck hunters have several friends that like to hunt also. The important thing is to take them enough so it becomes part of their lifestyle. My youngest is still fondling waterfowl loads, decoys and calls, and recently asked if a friend could go with him on youth day next year. I have to try and make it a point to take his friend (or maybe two).

From: 12yards
05-Feb-20
I think another big part of it is cost of everything. I'm primarily a public land hunter. If my three boys all wanted to bowhunt that would mean I would be buying licenses, camo clothing, bows, arrows, broadheads, treestands, tree ladders/sticks, etc., etc., and then try to find a piece of land to put them on to hunt. It isn't easy or that affordable. This would be a big discouragement for me and probably is for a lot of folks. While I make a decent salary, I'm not sure I have more disposable income than I used to.

From: svrelk
05-Feb-20
I would add that I believe it won't be the non hunting or anti crowd that ends it for us. It will be us, because we are not united.. so consider this the next time you put yourself above another hunter, because of weapon, tactics or any other reason.

We are HUNTERS period....

End the bickering or see it all go away.

From: Mule Power
05-Feb-20
I think a big factor is that the next generation is flat out lazy! Why in the world would anyone purposely wake up in a cold tent and make their own coffee before get all sweaty walking around looking for game when they can crawl out of a Sleep Number bed at the crack of 10 and go to Starbucks where someone will make their coffee for them. Not to mention that meat at the fast food joints is pre quartered, butchered AND cooked for you. Our generation must be dumb as rocks!

From: TrapperKayak
05-Feb-20
As long as predators exist, hunting will too. Humans are predators. Omnivorous predators. 'Legal', as determined by 'society', or not, it's never going away as long as we don't. The methods may change and vary, but the prey will be eaten. Carry on!

From: svrelk
05-Feb-20
If children are lazy, fault falls on their parents... Simply look at how we were raised vs how most our raised today... Get their asses off the couch and away from those screens... Take them with you.

From: TrapperKayak
05-Feb-20
As for hunting 'dying' in NY, when I was starting out in the 60s and 70s, there were miles upon miles of cars parked along the roads on opening morning esp. in the southern tier. Sounded like 'Nam at first light. It was almost suicidal being out there, slugs whizzing through trees nearby very common. Its far less stressful nowdays. There aren't nearly the numbers of gun hunters there were back then. It is dying in NY, relatively speaking. numbers-wise. Bowhunting is more prevalent though.

From: K Cummings
05-Feb-20
"I think another big part of it is cost of everything. I'm primarily a public land hunter. If my three boys all wanted to bowhunt that would mean I would be buying licenses, camo clothing, bows, arrows, broadheads, treestands, tree ladders/sticks, etc., etc., and then try to find a piece of land to put them on to hunt. It isn't easy or that affordable. This would be a big discouragement for me and probably is for a lot of folks."

I agree...to the extent that you buy into the notion that you need the newest and the best of technology in order to kill a deer.

If however, you don't buy into that mindset, the equipment needed to kill a deer can be had for very little money. In many cases, no money at all.

The top of the line bows from 10 or 15 years ago can be had for literally next to nothing on ebay, a pawn shop, or at many garage sales.

A hundred dollar bill will outfit most kids with everything they need to start bow hunting and in many states that includes the license.

KPC

From: 12yards
05-Feb-20
K Cummings, maybe you can do it cheap, but I think there is more to it than what you list. Warm clothes, cold clothes, rain gear, stand + accessories, license, safety harness, bow, arrows, broadheads, release, etc. And then multiply that times 3 kids.

From: TrapperKayak
05-Feb-20
Some kids could be taught to trap at an early age with their mentors, and then help to purchase some of their own gear and licenses. Plus they learn the oudtdoors to prepare for hunting later on. It is still doable in some cases. In some states. I paid alot of my own way with all that. And had fun doing it. Learned responsibility and had many good years with my father and uncles. And I still played HS sports. Just not during winter.

From: TD
05-Feb-20
I don't know anybody that doesn't hunt because they can't afford it. They seem to be able to afford everything else in life from new cars to big screen tv, newest video game from going out to eat, to high end often exotic vacations, etc. etc. etc. That cost doesn't seem to dissuade them from doing those things? But how hard is it to pick a (usually new, hot) restaurant or pack bags, buy tickets and books rooms? How much physical discomfort is involved there? How much effort? And what are the chances of.... gasp,,, failure in those endovors? I was reading an article on video game developers. How the most profitable games are those who tailor their difficultly on the fly to match the player's abilities to a degree. Make them to hard, too much effort and people quit playing. Too easy and they will quit... it's no challenge, which people at least THINK they want.....

90% of it is urban life has taken over rural life. Even in rural areas. Small farms (and the corresponding number of rural families and lifestyles) are disappearing, replaced by larger corporate farms. Paradoxically on the other end huge ranches and properties are being chopped up and sold off into developments and ranchettes by families who no longer want the rural life and hard work but do want the easy money selling off dad's or grandpa's place. Was a time these things were seen as burning the furniture to stay warm rather than the foresight and effort to stockpile firewood, but times and mentality have changed. It is what it is, culturally or otherwise and has absolutely NOTHING to do with hunting. But does greatly effect it along with other rural lifestyles. Another irony some seem to completely miss..... leasing out hunting rights on many of these places are what is keeping the ranch in one piece and not being put on the instant easy money chopping block.

And again, hunting is, um... hard. Hard in comparison to the instant gratification and short attention span of modern urban life.

Same correlation of hunting to small farms. Gardening for food. Canning, DIY butchering..... Dozens, hundreds of other crafts and hobbies. Know anyone who sews anymore? I used to know a good many. Now..... a couple. Soon..... nobody I know....

Close a hunting season.... many will complain and then move on..... shut off the internet for a day and cities will burn....

Doesn't take long to breed out instincts and such of a species, not that many generations to dull them. Look at how fast a great hunting breed like the golden retriever was turned into a maltese or poodle. Poodles for that matter were one time great hunters. (although some breeders claim these breeds are making a comeback WRT hunting.... good for them)

The modern metrosexual is quickly going that route as we speak...... some looking kinda poodlish already......

From: K Cummings
05-Feb-20

K Cummings's embedded Photo
K Cummings's embedded Photo
12 yards:

Just for grins, I went to my local Craig's List just to see what was available. It took me less than a minute to find the following:

"PSE Nova Compound Bow. All accessories included. 100% ready to hunt. BSA Red Dot scope,13 arrows, release, vibration dampener, broadheads, field tips, etc. Hard case too. Great bow to get started with. $50 obo"

Equipment deals like these are literally a dime a dozen, and are infinitely more technologically advanced than what I (or most of us) started with. Heck, I hunt with traditional equipment so it's actually more advanced than what I use now.

:)

I didn't have a tree stand, no need for a safety harness, my camo was army surplus that I wore over layers of other clothing, my rain gear was non existent, we just hunted until we were too cold or too wet to continue.

My point was simple. If a parent truly wants to get their kids started bow hunting, it doesn't take a whole lot.

KPC

05-Feb-20
Yes, but the feeder with timer will be another $150, plus the cost of corn:-)

From: SDHNTR(home)
05-Feb-20
I don't buy any of this. It's certainly not money. Iphones cost $1000 and every kid has one. And an ipad.

Hell, I hunt out West and I sure as chit don't see hunting dying. Its the exact opposite. I can think of absolutely ZERO hunting areas that are less crowded than they used to be. I can think of exactly ZERO good hunting tags that are easier to draw. Also ZERO guided hunts or landowner tags that are cheaper than they used to be.

So there is obviously greater hunting demand forcing these economic circumstances. Yet hunter numbers are declining? I just don't see it. Did all the Eastern hunters shift their hunting focus out West?

From: Heat
05-Feb-20
I have a hard time believing these predictions. Arizona had a record number of applicants in the last draw and I don't see that changing anytime soon.

From: Ambush
05-Feb-20
”Yes, but the feeder with timer will be another $150, plus the cost of corn:-)”

Or maybe it’s hunters always pissing down other hunter‘s necks.

05-Feb-20
Lol!

05-Feb-20
Hello All : I am trying to take an objective view. Hunting is not dying but we may be injuring it with all of the best intentions. People these days want instant gratification. Hunting seldom delivers that. We as a group need to sell the value of our game large and small. I have spent my life so far enjoying the bounty of the land. I like to forage and try to sell others on the idea that before we could buy anything in season at any time our recent ancestors lived the last of winter on canned meat and highly salted vegetables. Although we don't need to do that I like to have venison harvested by me or my friends to shorten the winter. In short I revere the game that allows me to enjoy the winter months in comfort. For hunting to survive we need to sell the idea that any game animal is a gift that is not to be wasted. The new generation gets that if we give them half a chance. Perhaps we need to tell about the deer that filled our freezer and we shared with neighbors first then told about the rack as a secondary benefit. My living room is filled with the racks of deer. I love to tell my guests about the hunts and he friends I was with when I took the animal. In conclusion I doubt hunting is in danger but is time to redirect. Bob

From: Jaquomo
05-Feb-20
The license sales stats across the country don't lie. Thisbis hard, verifiable data. Numbers of hunters nationwide have been declining steadily for 20 years, and the decrease has accelerated for the past 10 as boomers drop out. The remaining hunters are hunting more states, especially western states, which gives the appearance that hunters are increasing in some places.

From: Jaquomo
05-Feb-20
The license sales stats across the country don't lie. Thisbis hard, verifiable data. Numbers of hunters nationwide have been declining steadily for 20 years, and the decrease has accelerated for the past 10 as boomers drop out. The remaining hunters are hunting more states, especially western states, which gives the appearance that hunters are increasing in some places.

05-Feb-20
Exactly correct Lou!

05-Feb-20
Agree with Jaquomo.

From: flip
05-Feb-20
TrapperKyak, your story about bringing the gun to school isthe way it was for sure. I remember actually bringing our guns into school to shop as our shop teacher was a hunter and gun enthusiast.We could actually leave our rifle cased in the car during classes so we could hunt right after school.Never even had to worry about someone stealing it!Boy if a kid would do that in these times there would be a swat team on site so fast, and it would be on the national news! Sad the way things have changed.

From: Mule Power
05-Feb-20
TD excellent post.

From: K Cummings
05-Feb-20
”Or maybe it’s hunters always pissing down other hunter‘s necks.”

To a large extent, that’s true.

Hunters with the “do it my way or don’t do it at all” attitude will eventually ruin it for everyone.

Martin Niemöller was right in 1946 and he is right today, albeit in a different context.

"First they came for the socialists baiters, and I did not speak out—

Because I was not a socialist baiter. Then they came for the trade unionists crossbow hunters, and I did not speak out—

Because I was not a trade unionist crossbow hunter. Then they came for the Jews hound hunters, and I did not speak out—

Because I was not a Jew hound hunter. Then they came for me—

and there was no one left to speak for me."

KPC

05-Feb-20
Don't forget the habitat managers, they will come for them to.

Let go of the drama. Lou called it exactly as to what is causing hunting to be in dire straits.

It costs more than $100 to get a kid started, that was my only point. It has little to do with money, everything to do with demographics. Baby boomers are dropping out in droves.

From: Trophyhill
06-Feb-20
If hunting is dying, all the more reason to go all in and hunt as much as I can. If I draw everything I apply for, it's gonna be a busy year

From: Bou'bound
06-Feb-20
the death of hunting will be waning interest, access, and societal acceptance. does anyone think any of those things are going to get better as time marches on.

There was a thread about five years ago with the simple question being something to the effect, " do you think there will be more or less hunting opportunities in 50 years; if you had the chance to freeze what we have today forever or roll the dice and see if the future would be better, what would you choose"

the overwhelming response, in excess of 90% on a long thread said take today the future won't be as good.

From: Timex
06-Feb-20
Ok so I'm gonna go out on a limb here and give a somewhat country boy perspective. First off I'm gonna assume the majority on this forum are not lower class or possibly even lower middle class individuals. The separation between the lower class & the middle class grows larger every year a pickup truck now costs what houses did 40 years ago & for the uneducated under skilled lower class workers of this nation & there are billions of worker bees keeping this nation going. So as time goes on & the poor get poorer hunting will become a means of sustenance & not sport as we know it. 50#s of venison for the cost of a .22 bullet is a pretty good deal for someone living on 8$ an hour. Killing animals for food isn't going away if anything it may do just the opposite. Now sport hunting that's entirely different

From: Whocares
06-Feb-20
Not dying. Changing, everything does.

From: Trophyhill
06-Feb-20
Stay tuned Timex. Trump is doing some great things. Putting millions to work and getting people off welfare. My paycheck is up aost $200 a week since he took office. The only thing that could kill this economy are Democrats being voted in........

From: Kevin Dill
06-Feb-20
Dying...no. Suffering...yes.

My area of southern Ohio used to get pounded extremely hard in firearms season. The last 15 years I hear the occasional gunshot on opening day, but certainly not the barrage it used to be for 3 straight days...then a break....then the final fireworks on the weekend. I attribute a good part of this to access issues. There was a time when trespassing was common and hunters went wherever they pleased without worrying. Landowners complained and the state drastically stiffened their trespass and hunting permission laws. Enforcement is a fact, and property owners know it. I used to have to kick illegal hunters off my farms every season, but haven't had to do that for 20 years....and I don't have any signage posted anywhere.

From a national perspective, I do think hunting is declining due to a shift in outdoor interests. Children who are exposed to hunting, fishing, farming, gardening, butchering, birthing and so on from their earliest years see it as an integral part of their existence. It's just what they do. They don't have to decide to do it at age 18 or 28, nor do they need to develop an acceptance of it. We simply don't have as many kids...rural or otherwise....getting that indoctrination from their earliest years. I notice that very few rural families under the age of 50 grow gardens now, and very few farm owners are actually killing or butchering their own beef, pork, etc. Chickens are a hobby thing. We're simply shifting the culture away from all this. And hunting is often viewed as largely about social success....less about nutritional benefit. It makes it harder to justify (to those who see what we do) as a recreational activity they can support or engage in.

From: Timex
06-Feb-20
Trophyhill you are correct my pay has gone up as well but I have a skill that's in demand. There are a tremendous amount of uneducated under skilled people in this nation that will continue to be paid as little as their employers can get away with.

From: lawdy
06-Feb-20
Hunting will be for the rich or the lower paid working man. The very poor have EBT cards, fuel assistance, rent subsidy, healthcare,etc, the guy with a family doesn’t. The rich buy or lease land, pay for guided hunts, etc. I read the posts on this site and I see evidence of that every day. This is largely an upper middle class/wealthy man’s site. The threads about buying farms to hunt, African trips, guided hunts, etc, are fun to read, but something most guys with families can’t afford. I own land, but it pays for itself in timber, plus provides part of my living. As more and more land becomes shut off to the average guy, you will see hunting die as recreation for the middle class. Eventually the rich will suffer too as voters attitudes turn against hunting. The meat hunter will simply poach as without license sales, who will pay for fish and game departments? This will hit first in the Midwest where posting is prevalent and horns mean so much. In my area, posting is very rare and deer scarce.. We judge deer by body mass as that means more meals. Our deer simply do not grow huge racks, and for that I am grateful. When I see guys that live in the Midwest and West who can’t find a place to hunt, while non-residents with money can, basically farming deer, I see their kids, not raised as hunters, eventually voting on something they never did or are shut out from doing. Hunting used to be sustenance, now it is money. Just the way it is and the way it is going. Politics matter too. We are becoming a progressive nation, and urban voters count more than us few rural voters. More public land is a great idea, but the wrong vote, a presidents signature, and there goes hunting. I think we are facing an inevitable conclusion. Glad I am old and live where I live. We got baiting heavily restricted, and with early winters, food plots die in October. Plus we have huge open timberlands where deer are scarce, but hard ground hunting and scouting pays off.

From: Shawn
06-Feb-20
What I don't get about this thread is the facts don't seem to matter. It is a fact hunter numbers are down and way down in the last 20 years. That's all the proof ya need to see it is dying. It may be a slow death but it is dying!! Shawn

From: Bou'bound
06-Feb-20
Facts. Facts. We’re talking facts. Not opinions. Not lies not biases. We’re talking facts man. Facts.

06-Feb-20
X2 Lawdy.

We live in a totally different world from 50 years ago. Us neighbor hood kids lived in the woods. Catching crayfish, fishing for minnows, shooting bb guns and our bows. Could ride a bicycle across any of the farms if respected the crops and closed the gates. Ninety percent of this is either posted now or housing developments. Never worried about a tick bite, crab apple stick wars were common (lol)

The schools all had extra sport activities but very rarely on a Saturday, let alone Sunday. If my grandkids misses a Saturday practice now they not play in the next game.

Fifty years ago money was tight, mom ripped seams out and reworked hunting pants to adapt them for me. Dad hand sewed old blue jeans legs to my blue jeans for small game hunting. Kids and women's hunting clothes were non existent. No hunting tv shows and only a few hunting magazines I never new the difference, might even see a kid in the game news dressed like me. Heck Cabella's was invented yet.

Now it's a advertising world for hunting, new everything, 125 dollar muck boots for a early teenager. Compound bows are a great improvement in weight and draw length adjustability. But 6 dollars and up for arrows a release, rain gear it is expensive. And I haven't touched on side by sides and electronics. Have a good day.

From: Grey Ghost
06-Feb-20
When have facts ever mattered in these threads?

Matt

From: K Cummings
06-Feb-20
hawkeye in PA:

Let's not forget that people are willing to pay almost any price for the opportunity to hunt animals on someone else's land that are worthy of some book, and even more to attempt to grow and protect them on their own land.

When I started bow hunting 40+ years ago, not only did we make do with the equipment that we could get our hands on (and we managed to be successful), but any legal deer was an accomplishment and for the most part celebrated by other hunters and non hunters alike.

Now we live in a culture where people are routinely ridiculed for shooting deer that don't meet some arbitrary standard, or in a manner or method that some "real" hunters deem to be less than worthy.

It's no longer OK to give hunters a choice. Some "real" hunters don't seem to have any problem lobbying to pass laws that restrict certain methods and weapons, and place arbitrary size restrictions based on their own personal goals.

Is it really any wonder why people are losing interest?

KPC

From: 12yards
06-Feb-20
LOL K Cummings, I'm not that poor or desperate. I got one kid a Ross Cardiac, another a Diamond Black Ice, and the third will probably get one of my Synergys.

From: K Cummings
06-Feb-20
"I think another big part of it is cost of everything. I'm primarily a public land hunter. If my three boys all wanted to bowhunt that would mean I would be buying licenses, camo clothing, bows, arrows, broadheads, treestands, tree ladders/sticks, etc., etc., and then try to find a piece of land to put them on to hunt. It isn't easy or that affordable. This would be a big discouragement for me and probably is for a lot of folks. While I make a decent salary, I'm not sure I have more disposable income than I used to."

"LOL K Cummings, I'm not that poor or desperate. I got one kid a Ross Cardiac, another a Diamond Black Ice, and the third will probably get one of my Synergys."

So much for the hardship argument.

:)

If Americans have proven anything, it's if they want something they will find a way to buy it...

...and then complain that they just can't support a family on todays wages.

:)

KPC

From: Shawn
06-Feb-20
LMAO, I understand this is bowsite but we do have a wee bit of common sense, don't we?? Shawn

06-Feb-20
Timex said:

" Killing animals for food isn't going away if anything it may do just the opposite. Now sport hunting that's entirely different "

Timex, sounds logical to me. If the sport hunting goes away, the premise of this article is the reduced funding received by all states will place a lot of pressure on game departments to help manage not only target animals, but also some endangered species that benefit from that funding.

That is why I have always been a proponent of habitat management, I think more species benefit and it is a way to offset public sector spending that may decline in the near future. But, guys who like to bait make fun of us folks who also care about the bees and butterflies;-)

07-Feb-20
Had a couple of young male students talk to me after class yesterday. Conversation drifted to hunting as we were in my office which has some pictures and a Euro mount.

One said his neighbors bow hunt, he lives out in a rural area. I asked if he was interested to try it. He was polite and said he did not want to offend me but killing animals that came into a feeder just didn't seem fair to him.

I took the opportunity to talk about conservation, license revenue etc. It seemed to start some wheels turning in his head. I asked some questions and found out the properties are mostly pasture with a small island of trees/brush. That's where the two neighbors have their feeder.

I explained how deer numbers needed to be kept in check and since there was not a lot of habitat there to attract and hold deer, baiting would be somewhat effective. The other kid said why don't they just go hunt where the deer are. I did my best to explain, not sure it made much difference.

But this is not why numbers are down, it's still mainly demographics.

From: K Cummings
07-Feb-20

K Cummings's Link
Very interesting article. Long, but well worth the read. Takes a whole different approach on demographics and recruitment. Makes you wonder if we are really dropping the ball in terms of who we are targeting and what they are looking for out of the hunting experience.

"Why We Suck at Recruiting New Hunters, Why It Matters, and How You Can Fix It"

"Hunter numbers have been dwindling for decades; now the bottom is about to fall out of license-funded conservation. Here’s what went wrong and what you—yes, you—can do about it"

*****

“Hipsters want to hunt. But they don’t want to hunt the way a rural farm boy from Illinois wants to hunt,” Dunfee says. “They don’t want to dress the same way, they don’t like focusing on antlers, they don’t like taking pictures of their animals. But they want local, sustainable, ecologically conscious meat. And within our efforts, there are few places to realize those values.”

KPC

From: Jaquomo
07-Feb-20
KPC, I am mentoring one of those folks right now. They want organic meat and have property with some deer. Last year I gave them some deer meat and they loved it. This year I donated a whole deer to them. This next season, he is going to hunt.

For the past two seasons I've mentored two thirty-somethings from the same demographic. Decided they wanted organic meat for their families, they like hiking and camping so this was a natural. All they needed was some guidance. Now they are shopping for used bows because bowhunting seems "cooler".

Recruiting, one at a time.

From: Timex
07-Feb-20
It's all the grocery store's fault. Times have changed all to quickly especially for me. It wasn't that long ago you could buy a pickup with a an am radio heater vinyl floor & a manual transmission for 10.000 now their luxury vehicles for 40.000. Small farmers are mostly a thing of the past mostly because a small farmer can't keep old worn out equipment going & they simply can't afford new equipment. I recently saw a 1977 hunting store catalog & the prices were almost unbelievable. Hunting & fishing is expensive especially for younger folks on a limited income

From: Jaquomo
07-Feb-20
Not sure you can find a new full sized 4WD pickup for less than $50K now. I have a mid-70s Cabelas catalog and the prices were cheap, for sure. But back then I was making a couple bucks an hour, and when I retired five years ago I was making more than 50x that. So "prices" are all relative.

I respectfully disagree that price is any factor in the lack of youth recruitment. They all have $600 phones, wear $100 sneakers, drink $5 coffee and $6 microbrews. The reasons run far deeper than "cost".

From: K Cummings
07-Feb-20
Jaquomo:

When it comes to attracting a different demographic, it makes you wonder if the bigger, better, APR approach won't ultimately be falling on deaf ears.

At the end of the day, we need people, millions and millions of them, buying licenses and filling them with any legal animal. It is THE single most important thing we can do in terms of wildlife management.

The notion that we are going to "habitat improve" our way out of this problem is just plain silly. Sure, any little bit helps but we cannot create or improve enough habitat to keep up with a deer population that doubles every year.

At the end of the day, on average hunters need to kill 1/3 to 1/2 of the deer population every single year just to maintain the status quo. All the food plots, native grasses and bedding areas mean squat unless millions of hunters are participating and killing enough deer.

KPC

From: Jaquomo
07-Feb-20
The APR/QDM approach is antithetical to the demographic that may ultimately save hunting. And by restricting what people can shoot when all they want is groceries, many will be turned off.

This isn't an issue in most of the whitetail states where does are like rabbits. There, it seems to be more of an access issue, especially near urban areas where most of our targeted demographic lives.

In 20 years when whitetails are overrunning everyone, insurance companies, farmers groups, and suburban communities may have to start paying bounties for deer, or even hiring hunters. Seasons and tags will be more liberal. Deer hunting could become a lucrative second job.

From: K Cummings
07-Feb-20
"The APR/QDM approach is antithetical to the demographic that may ultimately save hunting. And by restricting what people can shoot when all they want is groceries, many will be turned off."

Agreed.

I can honestly say I never really thought of it that much in terms of demographics but it does make sense. That's why I found the article worth sharing.

Like it or not, kids are changing. I raised my own in a hunting culture but once my daughter graduated from college, she wanted to move to the "city" and make her way in the world. It's not that she didn't enjoy hunting or that she's against it in any way, it just doesn't work for her at this stage in her life. She only gets so much vacation and you can't do everything. Her boyfriend has never hunted but has shown some interest. Maybe she will come back around through him.

My stepson couldn't care less about hunting but is a literal fishing fanatic. To him, hunting is a complete waste of fishing time. That's OK too. His stepson on the other hand could care less about fishing but LOVES hunting with his father and grandfather.

You just never know.

KPC

From: 12yards
07-Feb-20
I still think cost has a lot to do with it, especially for those, unlike most Bowsite members, that don't live and breathe it. If a casual hunter is spending so much money on his other "needs" in life, hunting will be one of the things that goes away. Diehards, like Bowsite members, will try to make it happen regardless of cost. JMVHO.

From: K Cummings
07-Feb-20

K Cummings's embedded Photo
K Cummings's embedded Photo
12yards:

For some, I think you are right. The point I was trying to make is that it certainly doesn't have to be that way.

I would wager to say that most of us over the age of 40, certainly over the age of 50 started hunting with whatever hand-me-down, borrowed, and cobbled together stuff we could get out hands on. Whatever got us in the woods chasing an animal was good enough for us.

Unfortunately we have created a culture where new hunters (and some old ones) believe that in order to be successful, you have to have the latest and greatest and most technologically advanced equipment, clothing, and accessories, not to mention private tracts of "improved habitat" teaming with "quality" bucks.

My fist hunting bow was a solid glass 45# Brown Bear. It came in a kit with a half dozen cedar arrows, some Bear Razorheads, an armguard, a Kwikee "suicide" quiver and book with hunting tips. The whole kit was about 15 bucks.

Combine that with some army surplus camo, some public land, and lo and behold we were bow huntin'. It would kill a deer then and it will kill a deer just as dead today (as well as every frog, rabbit, squirrel and chipmunk within range).

KPC

From: Dale06
07-Feb-20
I think it is dying. I’m 69 and hunt with bow, shotgun and rifle. I generally hunt 3-4 states per year. My son is 40, he hunts some and wants to hunt more. We live 1000 miles apart. His difficulty in hunting more, is lack of a place to hunt. Yes, he could hunt some public land, but it’s over run with hunters and marginally safe when gun seasons are open. I think lack of decent places to hunt is THE issue for less people hunting.

07-Feb-20
Lou,

Disagree on the habitat approach you are discounting. Really is necessary, especially in the Midwest and back east where habitat is becoming fragmented. Education is the key, for example big expanses of native grasses have been lost and states will never have enough to make a difference. Some song birds for example need 200 continuous acres of native grass for secure nesting. By working with individual LOs and coordinating efforts via private sector entities I believe a difference can and is being made.

That won't happen though as there are too many "hunters" who want to do things their own way even when we know public support is eroding for certain practices, like baiting. Getting on some band wagon where we all need to support each other will not make a difference either.

Lou, your background, you know more than most that public opinion counts. It is amazing how many non-hunters you can convince to improve their land when they think cuddly stuff will be saved. The public opinion matters, and the differences between geographic areas and what factors are at play must be taken into consideration.

Increasing public and individual interest in habitat, and as important the juxtaposition of the habitat is critical. This thread keeps mentioning hunter density increasing when we all know that is due to hunting land being lost to commercialization interests, development etc. faster than hunter numbers are declining. My opinion, not worth much, is to continue receiving the support of the non-hunting public our efforts much show we care about all animals, not just game animals. Heck, back when I taught HE we were proud to talk about PR and the excise taxes and how all wildlife benefitted. Government budgets are not going to get any better, private sector will have to take the lead. And that will not happen with buying bags of corn, and Kevin I am not saying that to continue exchanging zingers, it flat out is the reality IMO. Our image is important, think about VA and the gun rights advocates and how careful they were to not allow any negative publicity to unfold. It makes an impression, we must do the same. I take kids every semester to help with habitat projects. After 30 years of teaching, I now have kids that contact me to say what they are doing with their own land. I appreciate that you are doing much the same Lou, thanks.

From: Jaquomo
07-Feb-20
Frank, if I came across as discounting the importance of habitat, that was not my intent. It is "huntable" habitat that concerns me. Just in northern CO where I live, there are hundreds of thousands of acres of excellent wildlife habitat close to the Front Range urban corridor, where hunting is no longer allowed (or priced WAY out of range). When I was learning my chops, it was easy to get permission and crowding was never a concern, because hunters were spread out.

Granted, we still have National Forest where hunting is allowed if a new hunter can figure out the convoluted draw process and actually get a tag. But the low animal density during season, compression of hunters due to factors like beetle kill and road closures, and the huge numbers of non hunters flooding the woods in fall here, all add to the challenge. If the overall archery elk success rate is 7-8%, that means the public land success rate is closer to 4-5%. Dedicating much of someone's lifestyle and expendable income toward something with 5% success rate is a stretch for today's "instant gratification" generations.

It's a lot easier to do other cool stuff like mountain biking, kayaking, hiking, climbing, frisbee golf, going to football games, playing sports, etc.. which are also cool with chicks, then stop at Mishawaka afterwards for a burger, couple microbrews, smoke some legal weed, and listen to a band on the deck over the river.

Where hunting was part of a boy's culture when we were growing up, it is so far from today's culture that it isn't even a blip on the screen. If a young man tells his girlfriend he is going to learn to hunt, he is likely to have all sorts of hell thrown in his face. The variables working against hunting are enormous today, and it isn't anti-hunters to blame.

07-Feb-20
" The variables working against hunting are enormous today, and it isn't anti-hunters to blame."

One of the most true statements I have ever read on this forum!

From: K Cummings
07-Feb-20
Jaquomo:

Nobody is discounting the importance of habitat. That is red herring that some like to use to suggest that they are better than other hunters or better at "giving back."

If improving habitat is what you enjoy doing, or what you feel compelled to do, that is great and admirable. However, at the end of the day any wildlife department will tell you that the single most important thing the rank and file hunter can do to help manage wildlife" is to buy a license(s), and by doing so fund their management efforts...which includes habitat preservation and improvement.

Anything that encourages that participation, without putting the resource at undue risk, should be encouraged, not discouraged. If that happens to be planting a food plot, installing a feeder, using a crossbow, engaging in a family deer drive, or whatever it is that keeps people interested and engaged, so be it.

All the "I'm better than someone else because I do it this way" chest thumping is driving hunters away, not attracting them.

KPC

From: Jaquomo
07-Feb-20
KPC, you addressed your last post to me, but I'm not sure what relevance it has to anything I've posted on this thread. I simply differentiated between "wildlife habitat" and "accessible, huntable habitat" with respect to recruitment and retention of hunters.

We can have the most amazing wildlife habitat imaginable right outside our front door (as with the more than hundred thousand acres of "Open Space" surrounding the area where I live), but if people can no longer hunt there, nobody is going to buy the licenses to fund wildlife management. If access to amazing habitat is limited and access to publicly-owned habitat is difficult to reach or overcrowded (which invariably leads to huntable species fleeing to "sanctuaries"), potential hunters will focus their energy on other things. Which is exactly what is happening.

07-Feb-20
Kevin,

Please give up the drama, this is too important for that. I am not better than anyone else, and do not think so, I know people who put more into habitat management than I make in a year. And I don't think they are any better than me. Yes, I said stuff in the past because I knew it would get a rise out of you, and sometimes you deserved it and sometimes not.

A good friend is one of those biologists you speak of. States are starting to see a reduction in funding and the biologists that care for our resources are doing all they can to encourage private sector involvement. The premise of this article, and why I posted it, is the license revenue is starting to shrink nationwide. You can continue to view disagreements with you as an attack on you, but that is not the case. It is simply two guys who are passionate about hunting/conservation and see a different path to sustain what we love.

To both Lou and you, millennials and gen Zers are not some monolithic group that think alike across the county. Kids growing up in KS no doubt think differently than kids in CO. I am fortunate to be able to talk with many members of these two groups, and have always been able to reach across generations to invite conversation. The kids in KS I talk with do not support anything short of free range/fair chase, even for 100% organic. Much talk here of land that used to be available to hunt is now locked up by big money for leasing. A perusal of the KS state forum would show plenty of opinions that outlawing baiting in KS would probably cause less outfitter involvement and free some of that land back up. I get things may be different in CO and MI, but we are here to discuss and hopefully learn.

And speaking of commercialization, unlike a lot of you I grew up in the concrete jungle with no relatives to introduce me to hunting. I think leasing has allowed kids with a similar background to mine to participate in hunting on a more equal footing with the kids who grew up in rural America. I get many of the rural folks who experienced "free range, total access" hunting long for those days to return. But guys like me never had those days, and without owning property, I would have no problem leasing.

I am not taking shots at you Kevin, maybe both of us can let it go. I bet most others would appreciate that. Thanks.

From: Bowbender
07-Feb-20
Kevin/Frank,

Please let's not start this dance? M'kay?

07-Feb-20
Tom,

I already extended the olive branch. It is up to Kevin.

From: Bowbender
07-Feb-20
Frank,

I wasn't gonna do this...... habitat work and the opportunity to lease is NOT going to increase participation. We've lost 250,000 hunters in PA since 2000. We have leasing and habitat work. The only thing that has increased is the drive for bigger buck. I know of many farms and even developments where the lots range from 10 to 30 acres. Great habitat for wildlife. No hunting. Unless you live there or have permission. Or leased. Sorry this aint the way to recruit new hunters. Nor is the buying up of farms because of buck potential.

While there may be areas that see increased pressure, hunting is on the decline because of many issues. Lack of habitat enhancement ain't one. Lack of hunting habitat is. And probably the biggest factor is, hunting is no longer THE thing to do, but a thing to do.

07-Feb-20
Tom,

I am a lousy communicator. Habitat work for me is NOT about recruiting new hunters, it is about securing the future of the resource. Hunter numbers and habitat are both in rapid decline. Up above a couple of posters mentioned loss of small game opportunity. Fragmented habitat that leads to genetic isolation and in the long run the extinction of certain animals in small locales is what I hope to see avoided or reduced by increasing management. The secondary benefit is by making the public aware of our work that benefits all wildlife, hunter image is polished and that will help us, I believe, protect the hunting heritage for future generations.

But I agree, declining hunter numbers and habitat loss are the main challenges. It will take a multi-faceted approach to keep hunting alive. Reading Lou's post and getting an idea that young folks in CO may like "green activities", habitat work may be a win-win for us. It is a green activity and just maybe we can use it to introduce young people to hunting. I know many kids have enjoyed it with me, and some have been invited to hunt with me through the years. Think about the thread regarding the water capture system created to help certain sheep species. I remember lots of volunteers, and a lot of good will created. If we could do that in thousands of places with habitat on a micro level and have social media experts get the word out, I see a lot of upside.

Hope that helps make my point a little clearer. Thanks.

From: K Cummings
07-Feb-20
"KPC, you addressed your last post to me, but I'm not sure what relevance it has to anything I've posted on this thread."

I'm sorry for the confusion, I was responding to your response to another poster:

"Frank, if I came across as discounting the importance of habitat, that was not my intent."

Nobody to my knowledge discounts habitat improvements if that's what your into. Whenever people like Frank accuse people of that, it is nothing but a red herring. That was my point.

I agree with you, access is becoming more and more of a problem. Ironically, often the people doing all the improvements are locking up those very parcels to themselves as well as expensive leases. I'm not saying that's a bad thing necessarily, but it does little to alleviate the overpopulation problem or the lack of hunter recruitment.

Around these parts, the DNR is literally BEGGING private land owners to take more deer.

Simply put, we need more dead deer, not more fed deer.

KPC

07-Feb-20
Either I am a really poor communicator or something else is going on here.

Lou, Kevin, let me try again. IMHO nearly the same percentage of biologists that tell you buying a license is the best thing you can do for wildlife will most likely say habitat improvements are superior to baiting for wildlife. They would say this with or without deer present because it benefits a multitude of species, including endangered ones, which is a big concern in this article. No red herring, honestly. Habitat management for me is not about feeding deer/turkey as the only priority, I can bait in KS to accomplish that if I want.

EDIT: We took 8 deer off of my 120 acre farm this season, all archery. We do our part, and the "we" is myself and friends who are invited. Just in case folks think I am one of those habitat guys who lock up property and don't share. As thank yous I received, for Robin, $110 in restaurant gift cards, no other money was exchanged, but some labor was extended. Thanks.

From: Timex
08-Feb-20
Some good points & some not so good for instance jaquomo said the income to costs 40 years ago compared to today are relative. I strongly disagree especially for the lower to lower middle class family's. a high school graduate person working on the line at the local Perdue & Tyson processing plants make $11.00 an hour. The habitat & feeding wildlife & license sales that varies from region to region for instance the 2 counties Accomack & Northampton on the eastern Shore of VA are where I am are the 2nd largest small grains producers in the state however Northampton is the 2nd poorest county in the state but hunting & fishing license sales are big here because of waterfowl as well as game & fishing in the Chesapeake Bay & the Atlantic. You simply cannot apply your experience in your region. Be it income, habitat ,wildlife food ,license sales , to the entire nation.y'all endlessly arguing your point that may apply only to your small area of the entire nation

From: K Cummings
08-Feb-20
Timex:

I can't speak for others but I understand what you are saying.

The only point I was trying to make is that if a person really want's to get started bow hunting, the cost to do so doesn't have to be expensive at all.

Hitting the woods with all the equipment necessary to humanely kill a deer CAN be done for less than a hundred dollar bill...and in most states, that includes the tag.

Can it be done with brand new top of the line equipment and clothing? No. Can it be done on expensive , well managed leases? Probably not.

Bet then again, that's not the way most of us started either. I know it sure wasn't the way I started.

Ironically, over the last 40+ years of hunting, I've done it both ways and without a doubt, the best hunting memories I have are from when I had virtually nothing.

KPC

From: Jaquomo
08-Feb-20
Timex, the minimum wage in 1980 was $3.10. That equates to $10.39 today. So your example is actually making more than we did in 1980. The price of gas in 1980 was $1.19, equating to $2.99 today. Again, cheaper today. But we chose to spend our money hunting and fishing instead of on $700 smartphones and $5.00 coffee.

Your resident VA combo Sportsman hunting and fishing combo license for everything is $100. Our license costs for comparable (except we can only shoot ONE deer) is just over $200.

The median home price in CO is $425,000. The median home price in VA (including the DC suburbs) is $285,000.

I could keep going, but the point is, your example of cost of hunting in VA is cheaper today than it was in 1980, cheaper than many other parts of the country. It isn't cost that's causing a decline in hunting.

08-Feb-20
It is the cost of horn porn and expectations that raises the perceived hunting expense. For basic and enjoyable hunting, it is a bargain.

From: Jaquomo
08-Feb-20
^^^^^ This.

But nobody forces anyone to pay $40,000 for a sheep hunt, or to buy a $1.5M house. Hunting is only perceived as a "rich man's sport" by those who want to hunt what the "rich man" hunts, but can't afford it.

From: lawdy
08-Feb-20
Jaquomo, if one lives, where one as a resident, resides in an area full of leases and posted signs put there by non-residents, it is necessary to have the monetary means to hunt. Otherwise, your only choice is to not be a hunter. Guess how they and their kids will vote. Imagine if we had to be wealthy to own a gun. Actually, the next election may usher that idea in.

From: Jaquomo
08-Feb-20
Exactly my point earlier. It is lack of accessible huntable habitat that's a major deterrent, besides all the societal factors. Cost of hunting is way down the list.

08-Feb-20
Lou,

I agree. Folks that still want to hunt will find a way...leasing, buying, hunting clubs etc. Someone mentioned they are already finding places to hunt just by asking. That is indicative of slackening demand, maybe not in the trophy areas, but probably elsewhere.

Reading some of these threads, guys who want better trophy hunting are bashing the Amish for brown and down, while others are just wanting any deer. The market will figure it out and hunting will continue to exist for those who really want it.

Maybe those that are wanting generic free range food will replace the older guys dropping out, otherwise even though hunting will continue to exist there will be some species that don't make it. And that will be a sad testimonial that we will share some of the blame for.

From: K Cummings
08-Feb-20
"It is the cost of horn porn and expectations that raises the perceived hunting expense. For basic and enjoyable hunting, it is a bargain."

"Hunting is only perceived as a "rich man's sport" by those who want to hunt what the "rich man" hunts, but can't afford it."

Excellent points, both.

Unfortunately a culture has been created (by many among our own ranks), that just showing up and participating for the fun of it is no longer good enough. And it's not just hunting. And it's not just in hunting, just ask any parent with kids in school sports. Unless a parent is willing to purchase the best of the best of equipment, send their kids to expensive sports camps, commit their entire summer to "travel teams" and various other events and activities, they are simply not welcome.

To many, that type of player (or hunter) shows a lack of commitment, a lack of respect and a complete lack of caring for the future of the sport and above all, a lack of willingness to "give back."

What an elitist crock of s...

...auerkraut that is.

KPC

From: Ambush
08-Feb-20
“ ... if people want to hunt, they’ll find a way..”

That’s true, but I think the bigger obstacle to overcome for recruitment is that most of the population doesn’t even know they might want to hunt because they never had.

You’re not going to sell your soul to get Dots Pretzels if you’ve never had Dots Pretzels. Even if you walk past the opportunity every week. Someone has to introduce you. And that is where individual and organizational effort comes in. Who sponsors school archery activities or shooting sports? Get behind them.

08-Feb-20
Good point Ambush. Back when I taught HE we heard a lot about Archery in the Schools. Is that still going strong?

A life of service, giving back, is not sauerkraut, it is a Divine Directive. I hope some day you can find peace Kevin and let go of past conflicts.

From: K Cummings
08-Feb-20
Come on Ambush, once you've had Utz's pretzels, eating Dot's is like shooting a button buck, with a crossbow, over bait, on public land.

:)

KPC

From: TD
08-Feb-20
^^^^^^ This....

A person doesn't know what they don't know.

I'd guess the majority here were introduced fairly young to hunting, outdoor sports in general. I'd guess the vast majority of population have never so much as camped, much less hunted. Fewer even drive now (as a percentage anyway) and fewer yet have ever been off a paved road. Hunting? A GREAT many have no idea where milk even comes from, much less that meat isn't grown in supermarkets under plastic wrap.

But even exposing more folks to the outdoors is no guaranty they take to it. There are just a great many..... options. Most a good deal easier with higher levels of instant gratification, not to mention "comfort". Beauty of nature and the sounds of a "silent" forest are lost on many when the cacophony of urban sounds are actually familiar and "soothing" to them. Literally took a couple camping last year and one of the ladies was very uncomfortable being away from civilization..... the next night actually commented she felt "safer" when we were camped closer to the road that night and she could hear the traffic. To me it made no sense. But obviously was how she felt.

From: Will
08-Feb-20
Trapper and another person above noted bringing guns to school. I remember doing that at my High School here in MA. We could even take opening day of deer week off school so long as our teachers signed off on us completing our assignments in advance. Heck, I had a few years as president of my high school fish and game club, which was the biggest club in the school often over 100 kids. We had school sanctioned trap shoots and fishing derbys!

That club still exists, and I believe that they still can earn the first day of deer shot gun season off. Not sure if it's as big as once... And the kids definitely can no longer leave their shotgun in the car in the parking lot prior to an after school hunt.

From: Timex
08-Feb-20
Jaquomo the $15 dollars an hour I made installing carpet in 1980 went a lot farther than the $25 dollars an hour I currently make driving a truck now. I'm uneducated quit school in the 9th grade I have worked hard my entire life & were doing just fine. But I'll take 10k pickups & 60k houses on $15 an hour over 40k trucks & 280k houses all day long on $25 an hour. also basic hunting license & tags in 1980 was 15 dollars now the same is 82 dollars. I honestly don't think you have a clue about about people living on a near poverty level income in today's society

From: Grey Ghost
08-Feb-20
If you're living at near poverty level, then perhaps you should be striving to change that, instead of hunting. Just saying.....

I think this dead horse is thoroughly beaten. Hunting will eventually come down to a battle between the haves and the have nots. The haves will fight to keep their hunting at whatever costs. The have nots will get disgruntled and lose interest due to lack of opportunity and costs, while blaming the haves for their misfortune. Hunting is a microcosm of our society in general.

Matt

From: Timex
08-Feb-20
I absolutely am not living at near poverty level. I'm saying that those that are. aren't going to spend money they don't have to sport hunt but damn sure will go kill something to eat. Hunting for sport very well may be dying hunting for food will never dye

From: Ironbow-cell
08-Feb-20
Some 15 yrs ago I knew a few hunters from SW KS that lost their permission to hunt when an outfitter leased 7000 acres. They told me 46 resident hunters lost ground to hunt.

I also knew a very well known celebrity hunter who hunted with this outfitter. He told me he felt bad for the residents, but sure enjoyed the hunting.

I have hunted the same piece of property for 38 yrs. The last two years have been touch and go because of family issues and the landowner told me I might not be there long. I keep trying to find other places to hunt and nothing so far or I can't afford the lease price.

I hate to think the biggest obstacle I will have to hunting in the future will be a place to go.

From: Jaquomo
08-Feb-20
Timex, of course $15 in 1980 went farther than $25 today because $15 then is $45 in today's dollars. Sounds like you are doing well despite going backwards. Good for you.

I agree that hunting for food will never go away, but the number of people who hunt for food is dwindling along with every other segment. Anyone who can't afford $82 for a hunting license has no business hunting.

With all due respect, I know very well about the plight of those living near the poverty level. I hear about it weekly from my brilliant, beautiful 28 year old daughter, who is in that situation due to a litany of bad choices she has made. She, of course, blames everything and everyone, mostly Republicans, for her dilemma. She could hunt for food and knows how, has guns (at my house) but chooses to spend her time and disposable income on other things, while complaining that she can barely afford food.

"The have nots will get disgruntled and lose interest due to lack of opportunity and costs, while blaming the haves for their misfortune. Hunting is a microcosm of our society in general."

This is so true.

From: Ambush
08-Feb-20
Bet not many kids get a Red Rider BB gun under the tree anymore. And modern parents sure ain't gonna let Gramps give their kid one for a birthday. Turns them into psychopath killers you know.

From: RK
08-Feb-20
All this is weird but I heard they are charging to get into Disneyland these days also. Guess the good old days are really gone

From: lovetherut
08-Feb-20
One of the big reasons we are seeing less hunters and in return less deer harvested at least in my part of the state ( west central wisconsin ) is you either have to own land or be willing to pay a big price to lease .There is no way for the Wisconsin DNR to change this,the proposed 19 day gun season will not help! Just leave it the way it is and issue more tags in the area's that are needed , penalizing cross bow hunter will only add to the low harvest numbers problem.

From: K Cummings
09-Feb-20
Leasing is not the disease, it is a symptom of the disease.

KPC

09-Feb-20
Exactly!!!

09-Feb-20
Capitalism is not a disease. Read what RK wrote again.

09-Feb-20
Horn porn is the disease.

09-Feb-20
MB,

That is already fading. We just don't realize it because we are on a site that caters to "intense" hunters.

Look at the hog threads. Not a word about leasing costs to hunt them. Nuisance animals most want rid of and we still pay to hunt. Whitetails for now are just so much more in demand, the price is higher.

The double talk abounds...we supposedly need more dead than fed deer yet we have people passing up deer over their feeders waiting for the right one and then criticizing others for doing the same.

Some of that leased ground allows youths and others to harvest does, but the willing to do that is usually limited. How many guys ask for permission to just hunt does late season?

GG and Lou are right, hunting is a microcosm of society. Everyone wants the best and points fingers when they cannot find a way to do it. I don't have a $50k truck, I can't afford that and property too.

09-Feb-20
As an example of the dynamics changing, didn't Genesis say he sold most of his Midwest hunting land and is doing other hunts including waterfowl. Others agreed that land can be a burden. In my area, land prices are down a little, and the adjacent farm had to cut their hunt leasing rate to keep it leased at all.

From: K Cummings
09-Feb-20
"Horn porn is the disease."

Exactly.

While I'm not necessarily surprised, it's unfortunate that some can't see the distinction.

KPC

From: Timex
09-Feb-20
Well I pitty the ones that live in areas of large land tracts with unattainable permission or high lease prices. It's simply not the case in my neck of the woods. & jaquomo your #s may be correct if I still lived in northern VA but I escaped the city 35 years ago. There is some truth to your #s Loudoun County VA just west of northern VA is the wealthiest County in the United States. I now live in an area with a considerable lower cost of living in fact I'm next to the 2nd poorest county in the state of VA and I love it got plenty of places to hunt in fact I get asked to please kill some of these doe's. & I can afford to offshore fish all summer with my paid for boat life is good

09-Feb-20
Kevin,

It's called changing consumer tastes and preferences, one of those determinants of demand. Horn porn is just a way to paint a naturally occurring phenomenon in a negative light. Were beanie babies toy porn? No, just a market driven by herd mentality that came back to Earth.

There are LOs out there who manage their property and don't care about horns. I know one who took a button buck in the snow and cold and was proud enough to share it here:-)

Pat's hunts are fun to read every year. I am glad for him that he receives so much enjoyment from it. I and many others in my hunting circle would never spend the money to do that. Most of us won't even spend the money on a full mount any longer. Things are changing right now and we just don't see it.

From: K Cummings
09-Feb-20
Timex:

My neck of the woods is much like yours in terms of public land hunting opportunities. We have massive amounts of federal and state land to hunt on. Granted, it's not the best habitat, and it doesn't necessarily have the best trophy potential, but if that's not what you're hunting for, it can be good.

Unfortunately, in my neck of the woods we have antler point restrictions (which is just another symptom of that whole "horn porn" movement, promulgated by the let 'em go let 'em grow, QDM, habitat manager crowd...but that's a whole different discussion) so that puts a lot more pressure on the antlerless population. Because of this, deer numbers in many areas are below, sometimes well below the population goals stated by our wildlife division. While the number of larger bucks might have increased, the number of deer overall has decreased.

That puts hunters in areas like mine in a box. You may hunt all season and not see a "legal" buck , while still having opportunities on the few antlerless deer that we might see.

Some people might assume we are passing up deer just because we are waiting on a trophy, but they would be ignorant. While it's true that we could be selfish and shoot does, in an area that is already below population goal, we know that would only exacerbate the problem.

Some of us would like to see the population in our DMU rebound a little so we choose to let the does walk.

I guess you can say it's our way of "giving back."

KPC

From: Timex
09-Feb-20
A picture of a big set of horns on Facebook carries far more value then a freezer full of venison these days and that's a very sad thing.

09-Feb-20
You just can't help yourself. Hopefully Timex is not confused as Lou was as to who you are responding to Kevin:-)

APRs are not perfect. Talk to biologists and it is not about horn porn. It is mainly an attempt to improve herd structure that when in balance helps with herd health. Using APRs is a way to get public support and yes, should eventually increase interest and participation in hunting. That's called a win-win.

09-Feb-20
Kevin,

If you are as concerned as you say, quit baiting and do some habitat work. You can increase the carrying capacity and encourage fawn recruitment.

From: K Cummings
09-Feb-20
"A picture of a big set of horns on Facebook carries far more value then a freezer full of venison these days and that's a very sad thing."

To a certain extend that's true.

Selling horn porn is a little like selling meth. Initially, some people love the rush but eventually it all comes crashing down.

Even some wildlife divisions have bought into the notion that bigger antlers will equate to more hunters but many are seeing that it isn't quite the panacea that they thought it was going to be, and in a number of cases, the unintended consequences are worse.

KPC

From: bghunter
09-Feb-20
It sure has for me. The cost is just getting ridiculous. That combined with the odds of getting tags for some species just really makes it not much fun anymore.

From: Bowbender
09-Feb-20
"If you are as concerned as you say, quit baiting and do some habitat work. You can increase the carrying capacity and encourage fawn recruitment."

Let me know when that increases hunter recruitment.

09-Feb-20
Tom,

You are smart enough to know that was not the point I was making. The point was Kevin saying the doe numbers do not support an increase in harvest in his area. Let's all try and remember we are supposedly Christians. I have tried really hard not to take shots and call people names, I appreciate that Kevin did the same on the last post.

Consistency is key in one's positions for me. Habitat improvements are necessary with everything else going on, and yes I probably do push that too much.

09-Feb-20
Is hunting dying? No, but hunting is in trouble. What will kill hunting is apathy about nature and wildlife. Here are some simple steps we can take. Take a kid squirrel hunting or pan fishing. The idea is short outings with a high probability of action. Take a landowner for a walk on his land on the off season . This shows him how you value his property. Do a few chores for the landowner. Share game with neighbors. I like to take non hunters for a game dinner at camp in the off season.

From: Jaquomo
09-Feb-20
Monday morning at school. Girlfriend asks boy, "What did you do this weekend?"

Boy: "My neighbor took me squirrel hunting and I killed three! It was fun!"

Former girlfriend: "EWWW! YOU'RE SICK! YOU HAD FUN KILLING CUTE SQUIRRELS?"

Within minutes, viral texts light up and every girl in school knows our young new hunter is a sociopathic murderer of innocent, cute, furry, loveable creatures. He is branded.

This is just one factor working against us.

09-Feb-20
The kid should have said he took a long walk in the woods to commune with nature and bring home some organic food. Marketing Lou, marketing;-)

From: K Cummings
09-Feb-20
"Let me know when that increases hunter recruitment."

It won't. Nor will it ever increase overall deer numbers in areas where there is too much pressure on antlerless deer. Talk about bass-ackward thinking.

All the habitat improvements in the world will not increase the deer population in areas where too many does are being killed. In cases such as this, the ONLY way to increase the deer population is to stop killing the does.

How ignorant is the notion that you can kill all the does in the fall and expect to have more deer next year by planting a food plot.

Granted, you might attract a few more from another area, but you aren't building up the overall herd.

A feeder will do the same thing and to a large extent that's why many habitat improvement and QDM folks hate them. It simply drives them crazy when 10.00 worth of corn pulls a deer away from thousands upon thousands of dollars worth of their "habitat improvements."

And God forbid, kill one of their deer before they think it's ripe and the top of their heads explode.

KPC

09-Feb-20
Kevin,

You can call people all the names you want, but your post above showed exactly how lacking in knowledge you are. The reports that you have posted about your own state documenting the DNR is allowing supplemental feeding until LOs can be educated about habitat improvements that will allow for the deer numbers to exist without harm to existing habitat is proof. I hope folks really don't listen to your uninformed postings. Your hatred of me knows no bounds, it really is sad.

From: Catscratch
09-Feb-20
Wow, what a lot of hatred and prejudice. I've tried to come up with an appropriate response to the disdain of improved bedding, nutrition, predator relief, and regulated harvest but I'm kind of lost on it. I sincerely hope you (KPC) don't actually harbor that kind of hatred for fellow hunters and habitat junkies, and you're just trying to get under Habitat's skin.

09-Feb-20
I do not see "hatred" in any posts. Sounds like a liberal interpretation to me.

From: RK
09-Feb-20
Missouri. Exactly

09-Feb-20
MB, point me to where and who said anything remotely like this;

"How ignorant is the notion that you can kill all the does in the fall and expect to have more deer next year by planting a food plot."

It never was, and K has posted pictures of multiple deer on his feeder. Calling people names and claiming they said things they didn't...

09-Feb-20
"A feeder will do the same thing and to a large extent that's why many habitat improvement and QDM folks hate them. It simply drives them crazy when 10.00 worth of corn pulls a deer away from thousands upon thousands of dollars worth of their "habitat improvements."

If this is true, why do folks do plots and other habitat in states that allow baiting? Are they stupid? Or do they know that habitat is a better long term strategy and is giving back?

RK, you were an outfitter right? Would love to get your opinion on that.

From: K Cummings
09-Feb-20
I've said it at least a hundred times Catscratch, but in case you've missed it I'll say it again. I have nothing against habitat improvements. Nothing. Never have, never will. I've done habitat improvements myself. If that's what you are into, improve to your heart's content. I have nothing against holding out for bigger bucks. Nothing. Never have, never will. I do it myself. Sometimes by choice, sometimes by fiat.

What I do have is a visceral disdain for the holier than thou attitudes of some that think that unless another hunter wants to do the same, hunt they way they hunt, or shoot the deer they would shoot, they are somehow less of hunter, "give back" less, or simply don't know what they are talking about if they don't buy into their mantra.

I am for everyone being able to hunt or improve their land in in any way that brings them the most enjoyment as long as it's legal, or doesn't pose a demonstrable biological threat to the resource.

And yes, I honestly believe that hunters who try to impose their way on others will eventually bring about the demise of what we all hold dear. We are seeing it happen already. That's why I'm passionate about it. Don't mistake the abhorrence of an attitude with the hatred of a specific person.

KPC

09-Feb-20
I do not see one poster actually hating another. Nothing here is that important.

09-Feb-20
We believe what we are told by those we respect. I have always been one to look at the data. The facts are fewer hunters are in the woods than there were when I started hunting. We had protected does for many years . The buck kill was at an all time high. It was great. If you were happy with a 100# spike horn. It couldn't get better. We had a rough winter and many of the fawns died. The next fall the kill was way down but the average buck was a few pounds heavier and a year older. When we started taking does the average weight increased. We took more deer a year and but many were does. After a lot of years we introduced antler restrictions. The age class increased as well as the average antler size. The deer kill is stable but not as good as hoped. The old timers blamed the doe seasons as long as they lived but It was obvious to me that the habitat had changed. They told of killing deer where housing developments now reside. Wildlife welfare is a moving target.

09-Feb-20
The other side of that position Kevin is that baiters want everyone to accept their method of shooting deer, even when we have polls that show the majority of the public doesn't support it.

And the decline in public support of hunting is what many believe will be the demise of hunting. But because our opinion disagrees with yours, we are the ones holier than thou.

09-Feb-20
Good post Green mountain. It is now required in the area we live that new developments have a certain percentage of space set aside as dedicated green areas. I will ask if they can avoid this by just putting out corn feeders since we are learning that is just as effective;-)

From: Linecutter
09-Feb-20
I haven't read all of this but a lot of it. I will propose a different idea I don't see here. How many kids are exposed to the Out of Doors, I mean really exposed. Taken into the woods or field just to be there (not on trails) and see it's beauty and the neat things that are there, or go camping, just go for a walk to be in the Out of Doors? If kids (as a whole) are not exposed, then they have no desire to do it, they have NO idea what it is about, and can actually be afraid of it. You need to create the love of the Out of Doors for them, then introduce them to hunting. Do you squirrel hunt? If not you should! You ever take a 5yr old squirrel hunting? Very Short attention span on their part for the hunting, but man they are curious about all the things they see and find. So why would I take a 5yr old squirrel hunting, I am not going to able to truely "hunt" with them, but the weather is usually warm, you can go anytime of day, how long you are out there can vary depending on the kid, and good way to scout also. To a 5year old it is a world of wonder and let them wander through it. You keep taking them, periodically as they grow you keep teaching them how to find their way around out there, what to look for, and not be afraid. YOU help develop that love of the woods, and that just wanting to be there. Quit worrying about "yourself" and how you might screw up that big deer's travel pattern by having that kid/your kid in the woods and wandering about. There will always be other deer, you will only have a small window of opportunity to have that kid WANT to be in the woods and develop the love for it. There is more out there than the killing of the animals we hunt, there is the beauty of the things we see when we are on stand that no one else will. THAT is what is needed to be shown to the kids. Then the Hunting, that just gives them/us the reason to be there. Just my point of view of how we can increase our numbers. DANNY

From: Timex
09-Feb-20
Y'all keep going on & on & on trying to make a point but every region is different for example Loudoun,Fairfax & Prince William county's in VA have a terrible deer heard overpopulation you can kill all the does you want no daily bag limit 7 days a week from the 1st Sat in Sept till the last Sat in April. That's 8 months of deer season and 6 doe tags cost $ 18.00. Habitats or lack of is not an issue trophy hunting is somewhat of an issue lack of hunter access. Is the biggest issue. Now where I live just 3 hours from Loudon on the peninsula between the Atlantic Ocean & the Chesapeake Bay is a very big small grains producing area food is not a problem habitat is not a problem land access is not a problem for most but there is entirely to many doe's around here & less & less bucks trophy hunting is all the younger hunters do around here. Some of y'all just keep trying to impose your particular situation on others when they are dealing with an entirely different situation.

From: Jaquomo
09-Feb-20
Linecutter, that's all well and good, but statistics from game and fish departments all across the country show that at around age 16 they stop doing outdoor things. It's a nationwide trend.

No matter how much mentoring, how many "youth outdoor days", free youth licenses, "take a kid fishing", whatever, the dropout rate is staggering and they have no clue what to do next.

I Interviewed some DNR spokesmen around the country for an article on this topic. One told me they had effectively given up on youth recruitment and were instead shifting focus to recruiting women, thirty-something men who had dropped out in their youth, and locavores who have never hunted before.

From: Catscratch
09-Feb-20
Thank you for the reply Kevin. We actually agree whole heartedly on a lot of that. You posted that habitat guys hate corn piles and go crazy when neighbors shoot "their" deer. I took great offense to that. I'm a huge habitat guy but don't give a damn if the neighbors bait or shoot deer that I have on camera. In fact I share pics with my neighbors all year and wish them luck. I don't do corn piles but a good friend who owns land on my north boarder keeps his feeder running all year. I helped him drag his deer out this year and drove him to his truck. No I'll feelings at all, just joy that he and his young son are hunting. Label me a QDM guy all you want, but don't assume I have those traits you described.

09-Feb-20
Lou,

Did they say whether they are having more success with the target groups you mentioned. I have not heard we are not trying as hard to recruit youngsters, wow!

From: K Cummings
09-Feb-20
Catscratch:

No problem. FWIW, when I make statements like the ones you took offense to, I’m always very careful to include qualifiers like “some” or “many.” I never meant to imply that all QDM or habitat folks are that way. They (you) are obviously not.

Sadly, enough of them are that it gives the good ones a bad name. Just as every person who utilizes a feeder or a corn pile isn’t a beer guzzling rube who cares nothing about wildlife, and couldn’t kill a deer any other way.

You sound like a great neighbor.

KPC

From: Jaquomo
09-Feb-20
Frank, the only quantifiable numbers show women as the fastest growing segment of the hunting population. Other surveys show that locavores are very interested in hunting but not sure how to get into it.

USFWS and other surveys indicate that the youths who drop out at 16-18 and never restart list every sort of reason for not taking it up again as they get older. Careers, families, other interests, lack of ready access (unbanization), lack of peers/friends to hunt with, families don't like game meat, you name it. But cost of hunting is way down the list since these same former hunters don't blink at paying $100 for a round of golf or $600 a day for the family to ski.

09-Feb-20
Thanks Lou. I bet that surprises more than myself. A little sad honestly.

From: Catscratch
09-Feb-20
Thanks Kevin again for the reply. I see where you are coming from. I know far fewer like what you describe than like me though.

Thanks jaquomo for that information. My hunting dropped drastically while in school but returned as soon as I could manage the time and finances. Sometimes you have to work from dark to dark for a section of life and that doesn't bode well for hunting. I wouldn't have dreamed of not returning though. Some just don't have the drive or support to get back into it. I hope enough do...

09-Feb-20
"I know far fewer like what you describe than like me though."

Say that again because it is the truth!!

From: Catscratch
09-Feb-20
It could be a "birds of a feather" type of thing, but I truly know more hunter who are happy to share and give back to their community than ones who are selfish. I'm talking real life and not the internet. I see all sorts of crap on the interwebs. I feel fortunate to know the people I know and strive to reciprocate.

09-Feb-20
Jason,

My experience as well. Glad to see you are a Kansan!

From: sasquatch
09-Feb-20
Total number of hunters is up, percentage based on the human population is down!!

Why access and stuff is harder. We making more people and essentially more hunters even though the percentage is low, YET there isn’t any land being created. What’s there is there.

This is why you see and hear “nobody hunts anymore while at the same time hearing omg my hunting area is crowded” it’s all about how you wanna look at the statistics

From: Linecutter
09-Feb-20
Jaquomo,

I can't argue with that, but most of the outdoor hunting I see being shown to kids, is Deer hunting from TV and adults. A lot of time spent with only a rare reward. For kids it gets boring. Yes, It is getting tougher to find small game hunting spaces for like rabbit hunting or birds where shot opportunities are more frequent and keep a kids interest more, it is more active. The farm I have rabbit hunted and introduced many to rabbit hunting for the last 42 years is being sold to developers for housing. So that it is sad for me that now I will not be able to introduce anymore to it. So now I will switch gears to squirrels, most woods hold squirrels to introduce people to hunting. Public lands are mostly woods at least here in Ohio. At 65 and the only dogs I ever used to hunt rabbits were the ones at the end of my legs. The enjoyment I have got the last few years was watching others getting the rabbits, because it would just wear me out, but I just loved being out there, and kept taking them. I think we as adult hunters have forgotten how important small game hunting is for kids. How many Small Game hunting shows do you see on TV? They are about as rare as finding Chicken's teeth. The Deer Hunting TV shows that are watched also put unreal expectations of what they need to shoot when they go into the woods to deer hunt, how many times have I heard people say, "My kid said it wasn't big enough to shoot.". What have we taught them, it is only about the antlers? We should all know it is not! I am not bashing Deer Hunting at all, I am looking at it as one who remembers what it is like to be a kid. This goes for both boys and girls. If they are only taught deer hunting or turkey hunting, look at the times you need to be in the woods, Sun Rise or a half an hour before, so if you have to drive any distance to get there, it is much earlier than that you have to get up. Teenagers don't want to do that, they want to sleep. If that is the only kind of hunting they know, then no they aren't going to want to do it. Plus they have their other activities they are involved in. That is why it is not only important to introduce your kids but their friends to the woods if their parents will allow. If they don't have any peers to enjoy it with them, they have no reason to do it alone, and most won't. For most teenagers today they need to be/have to be social, think cell phone. Deer hunting (especially bowhunting) and turkey hunting is not social for a teenager. Small game hunting can be social with friends and can be done anytime of day not just the wee hours in the morning,all day, or late afternoon and evening. I BELIEVE if all these kids know and are taught is big game hunting, which many of us as adults have gotten stuck on because it is the only thing that is important to us, because small game isn't worth our effort, then we will continue to see the decline in hunting numbers. I enjoy being in the woods deer hunting by myself because it is an escape from my job, I have more FUN rabbit hunting with others. Which do you think most kids/teenagers/young adults are going to enjoy more: Being alone in a stand hunting or being in a social hunting environment? DANNY

From: Catscratch
09-Feb-20
For us it's doves and pond jumping ducks for kids. They love the fast action of a dove hunt, they don't have to get up early, it's ok to miss, and they burn a bunch of powder. Pond jumping ducks is similar; mid day, not cold, can jump as many ponds as they like, lots of excitement and anticipation with the sneak, and shooting is often successful. Youngins love to to sneak and chase critters. Much different than the wait for a deer to come by. It wasn't legal for me to deer hunt until I was 14. I already had a lifetime of small game under my belt before I graduated to deer.

From: K Cummings
10-Feb-20
"Thanks Kevin again for the reply. I see where you are coming from. I know far fewer like what you describe than like me though."

You might be right Catscratch and if you took my statements as being directed toward you personally, I apologize.

My strong negative opinions regarding certain groups and certain attitudes likely come from personal dealings with them in my home state. It just so happens that those groups and attitudes have been the main drivers of three of the most divisive hunting regulation changes in my lifetime, mandatory antler point restrictions, baiting and feeding ban, and crossbows.

The arguments and tactics that they used were/are the same ones that some like to employ here. If you don't hunt the way they hunt, you aren't a "real hunter." If you don't agree with them, you must not know what you're talking about. And the attitude I find especially arrogant and disgusting, if you don't do what I do, you are only a taker and you don't "give back."

” Total number of hunters is up, percentage based on the human population is down!!”

If that was the case, license sales would be up...but they’re not. In most areas of the country license sales are down significantly.

KPC

10-Feb-20
I grew up on small game hunting, especially rabbits, and they were plentiful. Now I'm lucky to see a rabbit a year in huntable area's. Same as grouse, pheasants, woodcocks. Killing groundhogs was acceptable and the farmers thanked you. Now its not acceptable if you don't eat what you kill, even on this FORUM. And BTW I've ate my fair share of groundhogs.

Limited access, EXPENSE, and not being sociably accepted isn't going away and hunting numbers are going to suffer. Let alone CWD and ticks.

10-Feb-20
You added to you original post on this Kevin, just can't help keep taking your shots.

This article was posted to show declining hunter numbers will have unintended, and probably little thought of by hunters, consequences on wildlife in far reaching ways including a negative impacts on certain endangered species. Please don't lose sight of that.

Habitat management, something I support, can POSSIBLY help reduce the impact of this.

All of the other garbage and distractions attempted flow from past disagreements. ALL QDM people are thrown into the same category until the person stereotyping is called on it. So are college professors, all liberal elitist, arrogant...by the same people stereotyping QDM folks.

Then we have an actual QDM person besides myself tell us that he is not one of those who have been described here, nor are any of the other QDM folks he knows. Catscratch's experience is exactly identical to mine.

I have no doubt the person offering all of the criticism attracts nasty people around him, so I believe his stories. He relates to us the divisive regulations he disagrees with, baiting, APRs, crossbows. He is incapable of understanding that folks will disagree based on principle. I do not support baiting for the reasons listed above. Many others do not as well, including game departments in numerous states. I accept these experts know more than I do, others are too arrogant to accept these views, or dishonest.

APRs have been placed in the area my farm is in. I also accept them as we do more often than not see better herd structure, and an improvement in herd health such as body weight as pointed out above. I get others may disagree with me.

I also accept crossbows because the biggest group of hunters is leaving our passion because of age and making it easier for them to stay seems a logical way to prevent license revenue from collapsing. I accept others disagree.

With regards to tactics they used in MI, most groups use tactics some of us find repulsive. At a minimum it is disingenuous to attack other people for their tactics when one employs nastiness themselves. It is ironic that a person who states he has strong negative opinions about what happened in MI and that if people want to express they believe something different they are somehow arrogant and elitist is exactly how this individual comes off. Most folks can disagree and move on. Some can't.

FYI, Kevin's post above originally had only the last two paragraphs starting with bold "Total number..." He added the garbage above because he is incapable of getting over this. Yes Kevin, I do believe a guy fortunate enough to own land surrounded by thousands of acres of public land should not use a feeder to draw a public resource off of public land to shoot it on private, especially when no baiting is allowed on public. I think that person should go find the deer, they are obviously there. I think that is what is best for hunter image and is what will protect the hunting heritage from negative public blowback. I have that position because I have read polls saying as much. If that makes me an arrogant elitist, guilty as charged. I bet I am in good company. The fact that the president of P&Y does not support baiting himself was the main reason I joined the organization.

Man up or keep whining, it's your call. I will bet $50 bucks to a charity you will continue to whine about being picked on because other people don't agree with you. In fact, give it a rest for a year and I will send $100 donation to P&Y. We have both clearly stated our positions, no need to keep doing this in public.

From: K Cummings
10-Feb-20
hawkeye:

We didn't live in farm area but I can tell you how many summer evenings a buddy and me spent shooting chipmunks, ground squirrels, and frogs at the country club down the road.

The superintendent just told us "don't get in the way of the golfers" and "don't leave any dead critters on the fairway."

Great memories...

:)

I live on a golf course now and unfortunately if that were to go on today, most of my neighbors would be calling the cops.

KPC

From: swampokie
10-Feb-20
Every year at hunt app time im reminded of huntings death as the bleak draw odds get worse and worse each year. Then im reminded of its death as I try to find a campground in Colorado in September. Then once again as im blinded by the orangeout on the second rifle season in Colorado. Then when im at the 4 am boat ramp in southern Arkansas for the second duck season opener and im physically assaulted by a young duck commander as im trying to find a place to unfold these old legs into a makeshift blind. Oh yeah and opening day of rifle in Wisconsin...Definitely on life support. GIVE ME A BREAK ALREADY!

From: Catscratch
10-Feb-20
Hawkeye, you brought up a point that I had been thinking about for the last several days (last couple of years actually); you should ALWAYS eat what you kill. It's an easy defense when someone asks why you kill those cute little Disney animals... "they taste good". I wonder if it isn't hurting us in the long run? It seems more and more moms are worried that their kido is going to grow up a mass shooter if they enjoy hunting just for the sake of hunting. Those moms are going to take the bb-gun away from the kid out of fear of his enjoyment in the hunt. It's such an easy go-to as defense that I've seen plenty of husbands use it on their wifes, only to have it backfire when their first born is given his first bb-gun and he wants to go sit by the birdfeeder for the afternoon.

I grew up hunting blackbirds, sparrows, crows, and rats just for the fun of it. Lots of things we hunted but didn't eat. I still kill the occasional coyote, coon, and armadillo without eating them. I feel it's important to accept it's ok to kill some animals for reasons other than personal sustenance. I fear that knowledge is quickly going away.

From: lawdy
10-Feb-20
Swamppokie, you should come up tp Northern NH or Maine. It has been 10 years since I have seen another hunter in the timberlands I hunt. A lot of it is the drop in hunters as we have very few deer and less people willing to put in the walking to see a deer. The drop in license sales from 150,000 twenty years ago to 80,000 is a factor. As far as duck hunting and geese, very few hunt them. Geese are pests up here. When I was a kid, we were invaded up here in deer season. Now, we get a bunch for the one day doe season and that is it. The rest of the buck’s season is just Vermont trackers and a few locals. The state reduced the baiting season to 3 weeks and that took out most of the tree stand hunters, but they mostly hunted their back yards and shot from their camps. They also passed a law where a bait station has to be 300 feet from a dwelling. Currently, a rep has introduced a bill that will make it illegal to discharge a weapon within 800 yards of a dwelling. That won’t pass. As a kid, I started with a little hickory bow. My father took my BB gun and cut it in half when my brother and I cornered a skunk in the barn and peppered it along with a window. We got sprayed pretty good. Small game got all us kids started. We weren’t allowed to hunt deer until we were 11 or so. My grandfather took me at 11, and it was all still hunting and tracking. By the time I was 13, I was allowed to hunt alone on our farm and wood lots, but bow only.

From: Matte
10-Feb-20
The outdoors has no easy button. A remote, a phone, an xbox, an iPad and a computer all have an easy button. I am finding most no longer value challenge, aka "see what your made of" type of mentality. As this mentality fades so will everything that is challenging.

From: lawdy
10-Feb-20
Matte- very true. There will always be a few willing to try to push themselves but they will be legislated out by antis and those who never tried. Great post.

10-Feb-20
Great post Matte! Too many want the "easy" button.

The lack of places to hunt is also caused by the advancement of "clean" farming. In MO/KS, so many of the draws or corners that held woods/brush/grassland are being bulldozed under to make room for today's larger equipment. Economies of scale are dictating eliminating non-productive areas.

I support leasing to the extent if farmers can earn revenue from leasing and realize they don't have to turn every inch of habitat into production to be profitable it may help with the habitat fragmentation taking place. This is not a popular position no doubt.

From: K Cummings
10-Feb-20
" I am finding most no longer value challenge, aka "see what your made of" type of mentality. As this mentality fades so will everything that is challenging."

Let's not forget that not everyone defines "challenge" the same way. Some people challenge themselves with antlers, some with habitat, some with equipment, some with methods, etc., etc., etc..

Furthermore, I think it is a mistake to assume that young people don't like challenging themselves just because their challenge doesn't happen to coincide with our challenge.

And lastly, if the next generation truly is a bunch of lazy basement dwellers, that's our fault. After all, we raised them.

KPC

From: KSflatlander
10-Feb-20
Maybe hunting is dying because we make enemies of our brothers/sisters simply because they are not philosophical clones of ourselves. Therefore, we attack each other looking to attach some label or negative nickname. And we will fight to the death with our hat hung on “if you don’t stand with me your against us.” A constant search for an enemy within us and never passing up a chance to ridicule. I see the next generation as more accepting of different views. Most of them don’t accept the mob mentality and embrace diversity (physical and ideas). I think some hunters do hunting no favor when they value only wildlife that they can kill. Only value wild lands they can hunt. The younger generations don’t subscribe to that mentality. Nor do I and I’m often blasted on here for it. So maybe it’s dying through intolerance. Sounds like a reflection of the current state of politics. Just a thought from my perspective.

From: Catscratch
10-Feb-20
I don't necessarily agree with the easy button sediment. I am fortunate enough to get to coach kids in Cross Country and Track. A ton of the kids I coach take tremendous pride in putting in more miles than other teams, going to weekend practices, never getting out sprinted at the end of a race, and participating in "hell week" (hell week is a 5 day stretch of 2-a-days in which they end up running 100 laps, 1000x pushups, 1000x crunches, and 1000x burpees). Hell Week is completely voluntary and does not reflect on playing time or varsity placement. They choose to do it on their own, and there are a lot that do. Kids are willing to work and often take pride in accomplishing something that is difficult. They just need the opportunity, don't sell them short.

10-Feb-20
Many young people challenge themselves. Many young people simply see little value in killing animals, nothing wrong with that.

10-Feb-20
Apology for my inappropriate post

From: KSflatlander
10-Feb-20
“This greatest nation on earth is losing it's manhood in more than one way.“

As if hunting is reserved for men only.

From: Kevin Dill
10-Feb-20
Ohio general population in 1958: 9.7 million. Ohio hunting licenses sold in 1958: 692,500.

Ohio general population in 2018: 11.7 million. Ohio hunting licenses sold in 2018: 390,268.

That's almost a 44% decline in licenses sold over a 60 year span...and my lifetime. In 2019 the number of licenses sold dropped by another 14,000 hunters to 376,435.

It's interesting to understand that....despite a decline of those 14,000 hunters, the state's deer take for 2019-2020 was UP by 12,000 deer. This says something about our deer population, hunter success, or both. It appears we have fewer hunters here than ever before, and they are more successful than ever. Personally I think part of it is that little attention is given to small game in Ohio, compared to 50 years ago. I can't remember the last time I saw a gang of beagles and bunny hunters anywhere. Squirrel hunting is almost passe here. Hunting for furbearers is mostly about coyotes.

From: lawdy
10-Feb-20
Cat scratch, I too coach Cross Country and Spring Track, 45 years so far. I agree there are kids who work hard and take pride in what they do, but the numbers aren’t what they were years ago. I find that once they get the fever and taste success, it becomes fanatical. At our school we have a pool of athletes we all try to lure to our respective sports. Good student leaders make the difference. I have been blessed with some great captains that took freshmen under their wing, both boys and girls, as I coach both with one assistant in the spring. In CC, I look for that quiet kid who is alone and get my veteran runners to bring him or her into the family. I like Track for all the events, but I love CC.

From: Linecutter
10-Feb-20
Kevin I have to agree with your observation about what you see here in Ohio. If anyone hunts anymore it is for deer, thus the basis for my argument. We adults have gotten so wrapped up in hunting deer we have forgotten the enjoyment that can be had small game hunting that most cut their teeth on. I almost forgot how much fun small game hunting was when I got engrossed in bow hunting and gun hunting deer and I swore never again would I let that happen to me. I do everything I can to tell others to start their kids off small game hunting same as I have here. Deer hunting is not the only kind of hunting out there and not everyone wants to deer hunt/big game hunt. There is a lot to be said for small game and birds. One of the sad parts I see with kids in the out of doors is that their parents are afraid to let them do it because of all the horror stories of kids being abducted. When I was young my Mom would tell/make us to go out side and play and not stay inside. I guess as a city kid (with country raised parents) I was lucky to grow up next to an obscure city park that had a creek that went through it and some woods growing around it where we played day in and day out. I got introduce to rabbit hunting by my older brother (by 11yrs) as my dad died when I was 9. I am so grateful to him that he took the time when he was home on Leave from the Navy to take me out and introduce me to it. I wasn't till I was about 29 that I got introduced to deer hunting. DANNY

From: swampokie
10-Feb-20
I just typed for an hour on giving numbers and facts to go with what I see on the ground and when I tried to post the computer crashed so im not doing it again but u guys go to Colorado otc elk hunting or try to get a texas gator tag since troy and the boys hit the airways or hunt ducks in ok la tx ar lou coues in az or bears in Colorado. Hunt public land turkeys in Arkansas and u will c plenty of young posers out there trying to be like the drurys and live the dream. Different kinda hunter but a hunter none the less. Percentage wise yes hunters are fewer but a helluva lot larger sample size means a helluva lot of hunters. Ive seen 35 cameras on one water hole in the az desert and 4 treestands in the same tree in Colorado. The Sitka army is alive and well even tho it sounds like the Midwest and northeast is void of hunters. Ive gota add those areas to my bucket list because I don't remember ever hunting without company in Oklahoma. I see it every day also because im in the business so to speak so its not just a hunch or an opinion. The places I named and the species mentioned are highly sought after even tho small game hunting is dying. Big game and waterfowl-Turkey hunting is more popular than ever

From: Jaquomo
10-Feb-20
Just a tip - if you want people to read your entire posts, PLEASE include some paragraph breaks!

From: Kevin Dill
11-Feb-20
Thanks Jaq.

I believe in many instances (of crowded landscapes) we're seeing focal hunting pressure and competition. By that I mean hunters converging on a popular state/region/area to hunt a popular species at a popular (or limited) time. The early October woods here in Ohio are largely quiet in terms of gunshots and bow pressure. But check again on November 15 and see what's happening. There is much pressure to bowhunt during the peak rut period....maybe more than the general firearms season.

What I think some of us are seeing is a shift in hunter preference toward larger game species. Meanwhile small game goes largely ignored. I recall being in the pre-dawn woods on the opener of squirrel season. As the woods brightened gunshots would be heard in many directions in the hills. Statewide, tens of thousands of squirrel hunters avidly hunted them. Today I simply don't see a squirrel hunter, and the biggest number are getting killed by cars.

In 1958 Ohio had essentially NO whitetail deer to speak of, and NO wild turkeys to hunt. Over 692k licensed hunters took to the fields.

In 2019 Ohio has abundant deer and turkeys, but only 376K licensed hunters chasing them.

It may be unique to Ohio, but I doubt it. Guys complain here (Ohio) about hunting pressure, but what if we had 600k hunters hitting the deer woods every fall? The truth is we have more deer hunters by far than say in 1960, but our overall hunter numbers are severely down and declining steadily. The endangered species just may be us.

11-Feb-20
Great post Kevin. Some of the popularity with bow season in OH might be because of the crossbow?

From: Bowbender
11-Feb-20
"Some of the popularity with bow season in OH might be because of the crossbow?"

Frank, Not sure about Ohio, but in PA it IS because of the xbow. Since 2000, we've lost about 250,000 licensed hunters. From a peak of about 1,000,000 to around 750,000. In 2009 xbows were legalized in PA. The archery ranks grew from 275,000 to 325,000. Over 1/2 of our archery kill is now from xbows.

11-Feb-20
Tom,

Thanks. Do they have stats like the average age of crossbow hunters? Wondering if this is mainly older folks trying to remain hunters, or rifle guys getting in on the rut?

From: K Cummings
11-Feb-20
"What I think some of us are seeing is a shift in hunter preference toward larger game species."

As well as a shift in hunter preference in terms of weapon. Here in Michigan, we aren't experiencing an increase in hunters overall, but we are seeing the crossbow cannibalize other weapons/seasons.

In other words, less hunters overall, less deer taken overall, but a larger percentage of them are being taken by crossbows during archery season.

KPC

From: Timex
11-Feb-20
Some of the higher kill #s have to be accredited to advancements in equipment & technology. There's a similar thread on an offshore fishing forum. The advancement in technology. Rods reels boats motors & especially electronics have made the offshore fishery more accessible to the average fisherman. I don't know about more or less saltwater fishing license sold because saltwater license are relatively new. But on a pretty day during a good bite there are a lot of boats out there. Even with all the advancements the old saying that 10% of the fisherman catch 90% of the fish still has some truth to it. Not sure if that statement holds true to hunting. But probably so as well

From: Bowbender
11-Feb-20
Frank,

No they don't have age related data. What I can tell you from being in the woods, Lancaster Archery, Kinseys and other archery shops, it's bowhunters on the younger side. The ones my age (58) that are using them, for the most part, is health related. A good friend who's in his early 30's sends me pics all season long of the deer his buddies (same age) have killed. The vast majority are xbow kills.

The attraction, other than the "coolness" factor, is they don't have time to practice, set up and forget, increased range, ease of use, ability to brace on a shooting rail, or shooting sticks,...........GAH!!!!!!!!

From: K Cummings
11-Feb-20
Michigan Deer Harvest Survey Report 2018 Seasons

ABSTRACT

A survey of deer hunters was conducted following the 2018 hunting seasons to estimate hunter participation, harvest, and hunting effort.

In 2018, an estimated 554,331 hunters spent 7.5 million days afield. Statewide, the number of people hunting decreased significantly by 3% between 2017 and 2018.

Hunters harvested about 361,000 deer. Harvest decreased significantly by 4% between 2017 and 2018. Statewide, nearly 49% of hunters harvested a deer in 2018. About 22% of hunters took an antlerless deer and 35% took an antlered buck. Approximately 15% of deer hunters harvested two or more deer of any type. About 5% of hunters statewide harvested two antlered bucks.

Levels of satisfaction with the number of bucks seen, deer harvested, and overall experience in 2018 were not significantly different from 2017; however, satisfaction with the number of deer seen decreased significantly in 2018. Statewide, 52% of hunters were satisfied with their overall hunting experience in 2018.

About 202,600 hunters used a crossbow during the 2018 archery season, and they harvested approximately 74,700 deer with the crossbow. About 18% fewer individuals purchased a deer hunting license in 2018 than ten years ago in 2008. Although the overall number of license buyers declined from 2008, an increased number of people younger than 12 years of age andpeople older than 54 purchased a license in 2018. About 10% of the license buyers in 2018 were younger than 17 years old. Among hunters who harvested a deer in 2018, 84% shared their venison with somebody. Sharing occurred most frequently among members of hunters’ households (58%), relatives (43%), and friends, neighbors, or coworkers (39%). Hunters who shared did so with an average of 5.5 people. The 2018 estimates of venison sharing were similar to estimates reported in 2013; thus, it doesn’t appear that hunters have altered the frequency and extent that they share venison since CWD was discovered among Michigan wild deer in 2015. An estimated 134,644 hunters took 161,824 deer to a commercial meat processor in 2018 (i.e., 45% of the harvested deer). About 40% of hunters supported the new discounted antlerless license that was available for use on private land in the 16-county CWD Management Zone, and about 39% of hunters supported making this new license type available in their preferred hunting area.

11-Feb-20
Thanks Tom, and Kevin for the stats.

Tom, I am inclined initially to still support it if it keeps people in the field. I use a compound, but the way I understand initial archery seasons, they were for traditional equipment. I use a release, multi-pin sight, drop away rest etc. I also have a range in my back yard.

A close friend hunts my farm with me and took 2 deer with his crossbow. Suffered a severe shoulder injury a few years ago from a tree stand fall. Both deer were killed at less than 12 yards. I am OK with it but I understand the concern for those hunting on public.

From: Grey Ghost
11-Feb-20
Back to the recruitment issue. I think the drop out of young hunters in the 16-18 year old range is understandable and fairly normal. That's a timeframe when kids are just expanding their wings, dating, college, work, etc.... I know I got away from hunting for a few years during my college years, then picked it back up with more passion than ever in my mid-20s.

I've mentored 3 young men in the sport of bowhunting, all in their 20's, and all of them are addicted. Now, one of them is my regular hunting partner. 2 of the 3 are now married with wives who fully support their hunting. One has young kids who I'm sure will be exposed to hunting at an early age.

Based on my experience, If you want to recruit hunters (which I don't think many hunters do), recruit young adults in their 20's. That seems to be a time in their lives when they really take to it, and it sticks.

Matt

From: Will
11-Feb-20
KSFlatlander - you had a point about 50 posts up that I fully agree with. Hunting via the North American Model of Wildlife Management was one of the first "environmental activism" movements. The folks brewing the activity everyone reading this loves, enjoy the benefits of hunters pushing with non hunters and some ANTI hunters to protect land and the wildlife we all love to watch, chase and eat.

Embracing different ideas, accepting them, and the old "agree to disagree now lets go have coffee and enjoy life" mentality would help further recruitment I suspect.

GG had the point of helping folks in their post collegiate or early 20's get involved... I think those folks and women form great areas to help expand what we do. My wife really enjoys it, and started when she was in her late 20's. Now our daughter just thinks it's normal for women to hunt, she's surprised that other moms or girls dont - ha!

I also think a great ally in this are folks keen on the environment and it's protection from all areas. There are young people who are nervous about hunting due to stereotypes... but if presented with kindness and openness, they may very well either become neutral, or actually grow curious, and hope to try it.

There are a lot more folks that dont get to enjoy this activity we all love. If we present it really well to them, some will become curious.

From: Bowbender
11-Feb-20
Frank,

I think it's more of a shift than retention. At least from PA's numbers anyway. I know a big part of the push was to recruit young hunters.... I just have mixed feelings about a six year old standing over a deer they just killed. Not sure if they understand the ramifications of what just took place. OTOH, they are out, hunting, enjoying the outdoors instead of sitting inside or wrapped up in structured activities 24/7. And xbows for everybody hasn't stopped the downward trend of hunter numbers.

What it has done, has led to a push for increased technology in PA's primitive season. We have the only flintlock season in the country. It's 2-3 weeks long right after Christmas. There has been a concerted effort to allow scoped in-lines in this season. Now our PA flintlock season is a non starter for herd management. They simply don't kill enough deer. Their argument is "It's a muzzleloader". Yes........and no. My inline will shoot 1-1/2" groups at 100 yards, all day long. It's basically a single shot rifle. It's not by any way comparable to a flintlock. Same with xbows.

Just ramblin' here...... I use a bow cuz I love the challenge. I use a flintlock for the same reason. Both are basically short range weapons...at least in my hands. And I love big racks as much as the next guy, but if a year and half old doe, or six point walks by, chances are I'm dropping the string or hammer. And happier than hell to do it!

Matt,

Smilin' here. Good on you!

From: K Cummings
11-Feb-20

K Cummings's embedded Photo
K Cummings's embedded Photo
Interesting chart.

Always nice to look at the actual numbers instead of relying on anecdotal info heard at the bow shop or coffee shop. :) KPC

From: K Cummings
11-Feb-20
More actual numbers for perspective:

"A survey of Michigan deer hunters was conducted following the 1998-99 deer hunting season to determine deer harvest and hunter participation. Deer were pursued by 836, 961 hunters."

"In 2007, an estimated 683,000 hunters spent 9.7 million days afield."

"In 2018, an estimated 554,331 hunters spent 7.5 million days afield."

No wonder wildlife departments are freaking out. In two decades Michigan lost almost 35% of their deer hunters.

It will be very interesting to see what affect the state wide baiting and feeding ban had on the 2019 season.

KPC

From: Bou'bound
11-Feb-20
Everything alive is dying it’s just a matter of pace

11-Feb-20
Kevin,

This is not aimed at you...

If there is a significant drop in license sales as the result of a ban on baiting, that will be disappointing. It will reinforce the line of thought that SOME hunters could not harvest a deer without baiting.

And if the drop is significant, I guess I would have to support allowing baiting again for the good of the resource, at least in the short run. Hopefully the lost revenue can be replaced in the long run. More states need to consider what MO has, a statewide tax to support conservation. Probably not a political reality but IMHO more than sportsmen and women need to be supporting conservation.

11-Feb-20
Maybe recruiting more hunters for funding is the wrong strategy. Maybe the organizations we support can get involved looking at different ways to increase funding such as asking for support at the state level from taxpayers?

From: Bou'bound
11-Feb-20
"Maybe the organizations we support can get involved looking at different ways to increase funding such as asking for support at the state level from taxpayers?"

how does that work............the "public" is voting us to a slow extinction when we don't cost them anything and you are suggesting we start to hit their wallets? That will win some friends for sure.

From: Grey Ghost
11-Feb-20
Agree with Bou, the general public refuses to even recognize that hunters fund most wildlife management. There’s no way they’ll support higher taxes for that purpose.

Matt

From: K Cummings
11-Feb-20
"How does that work............the "public" is voting us to a slow extinction when we don't cost them anything and you are suggesting we start to hit their wallets? That will win some friends for sure."

Exactly. One of the reasons I think hunters are their own worst enemies. We will eat our own until there is nothing left to eat. All under the guise of purity and public (non-hunting) perception.

I fear, at least in Michigan, we may have to chalk another one up to "careful what you wish for, you just might get it."

Keep chipping away. First it's this method, and then it's that weapon, and before you know it, it's all gone. Probably not in my lifetime, but eventually.

Some will accuse me of being "dramatic," but the numbers don't lie.

KPC

From: Kevin Dill
11-Feb-20
Our American society (in general) is evolving away from hunting and other activities which have their roots in self-sustainment and survival. I invite anybody to think of a way to stop evolution from happening. If hunting is going to ever regain favor and popularity (again) there will need to be evolution toward that happening....a reason or reasons why future generations will decide to hunt. If it happens, it may not have anything to do with 'sport' or 'enjoyment' as we think of it. The reason(s) may have more to do with a return to sustainment, or perhaps an obligation to kill animals to best manage their numbers. It seems illogical to me to try stopping evolution and attempt to keep things the way they are or were. That's an old man's mentality, or maybe that of a traditionalist, but history proves you can't defeat the clock forever.

From: K Cummings
11-Feb-20
It should also be noted that it's not all about a loss of revenue.

Revenue is important for sure, but there absolutely MUST be hunters dropping the string and pulling the trigger on 1/3 to 1/2 of the deer herd every year. If that doesn't happen, the resource, the habitat, and public property is going to be in a world of hurt in short order.

All the private land habitat improvements in the world won't fix that.

11-Feb-20
Good points all, and let the disagreements and learning continue with respect.

I understand the concern about tax revenue, and called out the reality of trying to have all taxpayers contribute. Yet, MO somehow educated their citizens and do have their backing. A few times folks have tried to yank away the tax revenue or redirect it and they have been shot down, so far. This may still be a viable, long term, strategy. Educating the public using social media experts might have some potential? An option to consider possibly? Maybe studying what MO did and any similarities other states can copy?

I understand the argument that chipping away makes, and certainly one should consider the credibility of it. But looking at hunting through the years, we have changed what is acceptable, and ethical standards continue to evolve. Public opinion has to be considered IMHO, that is the reality like it or not.

The revenue is important for all species, most here recognize where at least some of us stand on that. In terms of some methods helping control herds and whether or not we should continue with the same path is a good discussion to have and there will be solid view points on both sides. I understand and hear what you are saying Kevin.

The elk in Idaho that were recently harvested by sharp shooters, it seems the public understands steps must be taken on occasion when numbers get out of whack with habitat. Here locally, a few years back a city park, albeit a large one, had deer numbers out of control. They tried allowing bow hunters while the park was open and that was a disaster. They ended up closing the park for one or two days and brought in sharp shooters who took care of things quickly and out of sight of the public. Very little outcry as people understood why, especially since the Conservation Department was involved and did a good job educating folks. I understand this approach, and in this area at least an approach like this will probably be accepted more and tarnish less the image of hunters in general. Others will understandably disagree.

Regarding the habitat management/manipulation I am always pushing...I and no one else I know believes this is a panacea for hunter recruitment, herd control, land access, etc. Most biologists will talk about habitat loss/fragmentation as a huge challenge, probably one that even we hunters do not readily identify. Please try and not use one's QDM experiences as representative all of habitat folks or that any of us are claiming it accomplishes anything other than what we have conveyed. Again, I saw this article as a way to bring some attention to habitat loss and it's affects on game and non-game species, and how future revenue stream reductions will have an even greater negative impact. As a conservative one hopes the free market private sector may offset some of the future negative forces predicted. If I did a lousy job explaining that, my apology. And you are free to disagree, obviously;-) Thanks.

From: Grey Ghost
11-Feb-20
Frank,

All I know is, both you and I will continue to provide habitat that wildlife can live on year around without relying on feeders, high fences, or the measly price we pay for government wildlife management purposes via tag prices. Someone will buy or inherit our properties, and hopefully maintain that ideology for future generations to enjoy. Others will blame us for selfishly "controlling" the wildlife at the detriment of the average Joe hunter. They can kiss our asses, when private properties with proper wildlife management are the only places where a quality hunt can be enjoyed.

Carry on, brother, I'm in your camp.

Matt

From: K Cummings
11-Feb-20
"They can kiss our asses, when private properties with proper wildlife management are the only places where a quality hunt can be enjoyed."

There you have it. This attitude is emblematic of why we are in the situation we are in.

Is it any wonder we are losing hunters in droves?

KPC

From: Deercy
11-Feb-20
Money does have a bit to do with how much I participate. My wife and I apply for deer, elk, antelope, and moose every year here in Colorado. And I have a 12 year old son that I am getting started. I also apply in Wyoming for deer, elk, and antelope for myself and antelope for my wife. We are a fairly normal family among our associates. No country club members at all, no golfers, some once a month skiers. I'm 37, a carpenter that makes a decent living in my opinion. Hunting has been my off time hobby since I was in my early teens. I grew up on a dairy farm in Kentucky and did my hunting in the woods behind the house. Land Between the Lakes public area was thirty miles away and I turkey hunted it twice in 25 years. I have started to think twice about applying because I feel it's a bit selfish to use that much of our income for myself. It will always be a part of who I am, the challenge is how to balance it all. Drop out of state? Drop species? Less backpacking hunts that take more time and better gear? Skip a year once in awhile?

11-Feb-20
Kevin,

Knowing Matt, he probably said that knowing he would get a rise out of some. Another way might have been to say we should all realize by now what is happening to access and opportunity and each of us must take our own steps to ensure we will be able to continue hunting down the road.

No doubt some of his reaction is due though to the criticism frequently mentioned on sites like this towards private LOs who have "locked-up" hunting for everyone else. Many don't realize the sacrifices made for average Joes to purchase land, though I know you do. And many probably don't realize habitat improvements taken with sometimes great expense and sacrifice also benefit surrounding properties. Usually only the negatives are pointed out, and it does wear on a responsible LO trying to do things properly.

11-Feb-20
Deercy,

Neat story going from KY to CO, and you have multiple species you can apply for each year. Owning land eliminates a lot of opportunities for me like the ones you enjoy. Good for you, makes me wonder at times if a land purchase was worth it. Thanks for sharing.

From: Grey Ghost
11-Feb-20
"There you have it. This attitude is emblematic of why we are in the situation we are in."

Accept the reality, or continue to live in denial. Private land with quality hunting is the last bastion for all hunters. Do your part and don't rely on the government to do it for you. It's your choice.

Matt

From: K Cummings
11-Feb-20
"Private land with quality hunting is the last bastion for all hunters. Do your part and don't rely on the government to do it for you.

And the hits just keep on coming.

The average Joe public land hunter, or even the average private land owner who doesn't do it the way some would have you believe is "properly" and "responsibly," just isn't welcome.

In the words of one of the truly great philosophers, Tupac Shakur:

"If you let a person talk long enough you'll hear their true intentions."

KPC

11-Feb-20
You lost me Kevin. Don't all/most of us try to do everything in life the way we feel is the proper and responsible way? Maybe people disagree on what is the proper or responsible way because of a difference in values/ethics/experience etc.?

And what do you mean by "not welcome"? Speaking strictly for me, but assuming Matt would agree, I welcome anyone to find a legal way to pursue their hunting dreams and am excited for all who do. I assume you don't leave your cabin door open with a sign letting anyone who wants to use it to hunt there is "welcome" to do so? Or maybe you do? If so, that is commendable but not something I am willing to copy.

From: Grey Ghost
11-Feb-20
"And the hits just keep on coming."

Yes they do for you. Most people would quit trying, but that doesn't stop you. Keep trying, it's comical.

Matt

From: RK
11-Feb-20
Lots of Cabin fever here

Can't help most of you but GG time for you to go catch Tarpon:)

From: Ambush
11-Feb-20
“Our American society (in general) is evolving away from hunting”

I don’t think it‘s my imagination that I see some of the pasty anti’s at protest who’s eyes are slowly moving to the sides of their heads. Skulls are smaller and narrower too.

Wonder what they taste like??

From: lawdy
11-Feb-20
If hunting becomes only for the few, why would anyone care about wolf reintroduction. Think of how beautiful it would be sitting outside listening to the howls. Also, let’s put baiting up for a public vote. You know how that would work out. The problem with asking others to kiss your ass is they may come back to bite it. This stuff is hard for someone like myself, living and growing up in an area that has an open land philosophy, to understand. I think a lot of it is horn worship. We are fortunate to not have deer up here with midwestern size horns. We have big bodied deer which enables them to survive harsh winters and make lots of meals. As more and more urbanites move out of California and other high taxation states, I think you Midwest and Western guys are in for some changes. We see the effects of migration from liberal land below us, but winter weeds them out.

From: lawdy
11-Feb-20
If hunting becomes only for the few, why would anyone care about wolf reintroduction. Think of how beautiful it would be sitting outside listening to the howls. Also, let’s put baiting up for a public vote. You know how that would work out. The problem with asking others to kiss your ass is they may come back to bite it. This stuff is hard for someone like myself, living and growing up in an area that has an open land philosophy, to understand. I think a lot of it is horn worship. We are fortunate to not have deer up here with midwestern size horns. We have big bodied deer which enables them to survive harsh winters and make lots of meals. As more and more urbanites move out of California and other high taxation states, I think you Midwest and Western guys are in for some changes. We see the effects of migration from liberal land below us, but winter weeds them out.

From: swampokie
12-Feb-20
Guess I’m the only poster on this thread that isn’t from the northeast or Ohio/Michigan so nevermind. Hunting is alive and well in Oklahoma and that’s all I can attest. Giacomo or whatever you answer to the paragraph breaks are for you!

Swamp

From: Timex
12-Feb-20
Alive and well in VA as well. No lack of habitat critters & hunters and myself personally have no problems finding small tracts of private land to hunt on & especially to thin the doe population.

From: Kevin Dill
12-Feb-20
I'd like to know the numbers for other states, but I'm not going to run them. Living and hunting in Ohio, I'm pretty well aware of what's happening here. Hunting is certainly alive in Ohio....and probably well too. But it's alive with much smaller numbers and therefore less economic and political clout.

60 years ago about 7% of Ohioans bought licenses to hunt. Today the percentage is 3% and headed downward. It bodes trouble if the trend doesn't reverse, and I don't see signs of it reversing.

From: K Cummings
12-Feb-20
"Guess I’m the only poster on this thread that isn’t from the northeast or Ohio/Michigan so nevermind. Hunting is alive and well in Oklahoma and that’s all I can attest."

swampokie:

Oklahoma seems to be one of the few states that is bucking the trend of cratering hunter numbers. Maybe other states could/should look to them as a model. What do you think you are doing different? What makes OK an outlier in terms of retaining hunter numbers?

As I stated earlier, the three most divisive hunting regs, at least in my lifetime have been mandatory antler point restrictions, baiting, and crossbows during bow season.

I'd be curious to know where OK stands on those three issues?

KPC

From: swampokie
12-Feb-20
Oklahoma allows baiting on private land and opened general archery season to crossbows in 2011 I think. There are no antler restrictions and a hunter is allowed 2 bucks with no more than one allowed with a rifle. I think that the crossbow legality has contributed somewhat to the INCREASE in hunter numbers in Oklahoma vs other states. I don't mean to question anyones assumption that hunting is on decline in their part of the world but in my region, not just Oklahoma, hunting is huge right now and it has been that way my whole life and im 41. In my opinion the most important factor in keeping hunting alive is being a deeply red state like Oklahoma certainly is. The blue state culture bombards children from birth with anti hunting and anti rural culture. This trend may not be across the board but at least in my experience it holds true. As a states political landscape changes so does the hunting/outdoor/rural landscape. Having a very healthy deer, turkey, bear, and duck population seems to be another huge contributing factor. The trend is toward big game these days and the populations of these species are robust and healthy for the most part. Well managed public land is a big factor in the amount of licenses sold as well in Oklahoma. Oklahoma is very much a privately owned state at 97%. The 3% of the state that is public land is the only place that the less fortunate sportsman has to hunt. In my opinion Oklahoma has sound management practices occurring on wma's at least overall. I am noticing an attempted shift from the powers that be in Oklahoma to swing more to the left in many ways and wildlife management is no exception. For the nation I cant say yes or no to the question "is hunting dying" but at least for now in my neck of the woods the treestands hang in great numbers in every hardwood bottom and its a great thing for the future but a frustrating thing if u enjoys serenity as a part of the overall hunt experience.

From: Bou'bound
13-Feb-20
that kpc aging chart is telling, but what you really need to see is how it has changed over the past 30 years and the peak has moved right (older). Anything that experiences more loss than gain consistently will eventually run out. it is just a matter of time as loss without replenishment is a leaky bucket that one day will be empty.

I friend explained the concept to me this way......an Olympic size pool that leaks a gallon a day will eventually be empty if the hose putting water into it is only adding a half gallon a day.

there was information shared a number of years ago about the average age of the hunter in the US and it was something to the effect every 10 years the average age of the hunter gets a tad over two years older. the information was making the point the youth hunter population is not exceeding or even just replacing the dying or dropping out population

13-Feb-20
My oldest two grandkids have been "gun ho" on hunting, for the first 4 or 5 years. After that it's kind of a first day thing. And each of them have shot 2-3 deer in those years with a rifle. They live in town and don't seem to enjoy getting deep back in woods especially when the going gets tougher. The youngest starts this spring and so far prefers being outside the most. Time will tell...…..

Started another 5 kids hunting with similar results with eventual loss of interest. Have not started any of them before age twelve. Not sure that would have made a difference or not.

Have a twelve year old niece that loves shooting a bow but so far has no interest in hunting.

From: K Cummings
13-Feb-20
"Oklahoma allows baiting on private land and opened general archery season to crossbows in 2011 I think. There are no antler restrictions and a hunter is allowed 2 bucks with no more than one allowed with a rifle. I think that the crossbow legality has contributed somewhat to the INCREASE in hunter numbers in Oklahoma vs other states."

Thanks swampokie.

It looks like OK is doing everything it can to encourage hunters and hunting by allowing hunters the latitude to employ the methods and weapons they prefer, on the animals they feel are worthy of harvest. Good for you guys.

I suspect my state got it right with the expansion of weapons (crossbows), but in my opinion they have succumbed to pressure by interest groups in terms of going the other way in terms of chosen methods and take (mandatory antler point restrictions and the use of bait)

I guess we will see if we can expand by contracting...but I have my doubts.

KPC

13-Feb-20

Habitat for Wildlife's Link
"Some guys in KS think baiting hurts hunting opportunities. The possibility in MI that guys who would normally hunt public land that did not allow baiting became frustrated that private LOs could is a reality that might have led to some hunter decline. It will be interesting to see if maybe some guys will try again realizing that in the big woods that have low density they know they have a chance of finding deer now if they are not congregating on private land feeders?"

Baiting probably was not used much in the farm land in southern MI though since farm land hunting is so much easier, I think someone said?

From: K Cummings
13-Feb-20

K Cummings's embedded Photo
K Cummings's embedded Photo
Bou'bound;

The farthest back I could find that particular chart is 1999.

Quite a shift in 20 years.

KPC

From: PushCoArcher
13-Feb-20
Swampokie well said! As a fellow okie I agree with your assessment hunting isn't dying anytime soon here.

13-Feb-20
OK men,

No doubt you guys are bucking the national trend and that might continue to help your state continue to go against the prevailing winds. I believe PR revenue is portioned out based on license sales in each state?

Good job men, and ladies!

From: K Cummings
13-Feb-20
"The blue state culture bombards children from birth with anti hunting and anti rural culture. This trend may not be across the board but at least in my experience it holds true. As a states political landscape changes so does the hunting/outdoor/rural landscape. Having a very healthy deer, turkey, bear, and duck population seems to be another huge contributing factor. The trend is toward big game these days and the populations of these species are robust and healthy for the most part. Well managed public land is a big factor in the amount of licenses sold as well in Oklahoma. Oklahoma is very much a privately owned state at 97%. The 3% of the state that is public land is the only place that the less fortunate sportsman has to hunt.

Valid points also.

Michigan is almost 30% public land so comparing it to states like Oklahoma at 3% or Kansas at 2% is tricky.

Heck, Michigan is one of those states where it's a fools errand to even compare the two peninsulas let alone the northern half vs the southern half of the lower peninsula.

They are like completely different states in terms of land patterns in general, public vs private, ag vs non-ag, and overall political "culture."

KPC

From: Kevin Dill
13-Feb-20
KPC regarding those 2 graphics:

The 1999 graph shows max deer hunting licenses at about ages 36-42.

The 2018 graph shows max licenses at about age 54-60.

If you take the 36-42 year old group from '99 and age it forward 19 years, it becomes the 54-60 group in 2018.

Just thought that was interesting and shows how stagnant Michigan is in terms of recruiting and retaining younger deer hunters. It also makes me wonder what other factors or things were occurring during those intervening 19 years. I also wonder what will happen when that 54-60 group ages out of hunting and there is no big bump behind it.

13-Feb-20
""I also wonder what will happen when that 54-60 group ages out of hunting and there is no big bump behind it.""

Exactly the challenge the article cites!

From: Grey Ghost
13-Feb-20
So, a state with 97% private land actually has seen hunter numbers INCREASE over the last decade, or so. Imagine that. Kinda goes back to what I was saying earlier about private land being the last bastion for hunting, doesn't it?

Matt

From: K Cummings
13-Feb-20
Kevin:

Exactly. You can watch that wave progress and unless we get our stuff together, we are going to be in serious trouble when it crests.

I realize it's anecdotal but I know a number of people that have just found better things to do. They're tired of the battles over crossbows, bait, antler point restrictions, special seasons etc..

This is why I'm so curious to see what the 2019 Survey Reports shows after the first year of the state wide bait ban.

KPC

13-Feb-20
"" I realize it's anecdotal but I know a number of people that have just found better things to do. They're tired of the battles over crossbows, bait, antler point restrictions, special seasons etc.. ""

Just the opposite reaction from all of my neighbors and folks they lease to after APRs went in for MO. Do most hunters care, much less even know the disagreements you reference? Marginally it may effect a few people in deciding to discontinue hunting, but statistically it is probably insignificant.

From: Bou'bound
13-Feb-20
.......and they’re at it again...............

13-Feb-20
Not at all Grant. Responding politely like I would anyone else I disagree with. No personal insults.

From: K Cummings
13-Feb-20

K Cummings's Link
Here is a very good article for those interested.

While it's not my intent to turn this into a bait -vs- no bait argument (the author actually makes good points on both sides) there are some valid points to consider in terms of the hunter retention angle.

"Personally, I don’t think a bunch of bait piles scattered across the landscape is really a good thing for the deer herd. Bait congregates deer, particularly in the late summer and again in the late winter, and that makes it easier for them to swap spit, which could mean swapping infectious prions. For me, a baiting ban wouldn’t mean too much—a tougher early season, maybe, but not much difference over the long haul.

But my hunting situation is different than most. I have plenty of very good places to go and plenty of time to hunt. I don’t think a baiting ban is enough of a silver bullet in the CWD fight to tell weekend hunters they should stop doing it. It will absolutely affect their success rate. Can they learn to hunt without it? Sure. But that’s not the point. The idea is to not give them another reason to quit."

Anyone who thinks Michigan hunters aren't engaged enough to have a strong opinion on different regulations, quite simply doesn't know much about Michigan hunters.

When the author of the linked article uses germs like "backlash, "contentious," and "anarchy," people in states like Michigan know full well he's not being hyperbolic.

KPC

13-Feb-20
While it's not my intent to turn this into a bait -vs- no bait argument (the author actually makes good points on both sides) there are some valid points to consider in terms of the hunter retention angle.

Agreed, valid points on BOTH sides. Thanks.

From: lawdy
13-Feb-20
Access is a non-issue here. Lack of deer definitely hurts. The Southern part of NH has a lot of deer and many either/or days. We have one day up here with bucks only for 3 weeks. My zone gets shut down a week early because the big bucks have been conditioned to winter behind houses where they get fed. When I was young, deer season was 9 days long, either/or. Muzzleloading was 10 days either/ or. The advent of high tech muzzleloaders, and baiting turned that into bucks only. We hound the hell out of bucks and a lot of hunters just give up and go snowmobiling or atving. I started bowhunting sixty years ago and still enjoy a 3 month either/or season. I am expecting changes though as cross bows are the rage up here, outselling compounds by a large margin. I hunt with a longbow and am the only trad bow hunter in our area. When I was young, I would see deer every day ground hunting. I average 2 shots per year now.

From: bigtines
17-Feb-20
I dont think so......Try yo find a place where there arent other hunters...

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