Sitka Mountain Gear
Virus Bringing In New Hunters?
Whitetail Deer
Contributors to this thread:
JL 04-May-20
Fuzzy 04-May-20
JL 04-May-20
Scrappy 04-May-20
spike78 04-May-20
Habitat 04-May-20
smarba 04-May-20
Buffalo1 04-May-20
Fuzzy 04-May-20
Fuzzy 04-May-20
Fields 04-May-20
Grey Ghost 04-May-20
JL 04-May-20
WI Shedhead 04-May-20
Ambush 04-May-20
Fuzzy 05-May-20
Fuzzy 07-May-20
woodguy65 07-May-20
Fuzzy 07-May-20
woodguy65 07-May-20
JL 07-May-20
Trophyhill 07-May-20
JL 09-May-20
Bou'bound 10-May-20
hcrat 16-May-20
Fuzzy 26-May-20
Fuzzy 27-May-20
Will 27-May-20
From: JL
04-May-20

JL's Link
Seen this article and thought it was pretty interesting. These new hunters might have a few things to learn first and need to manage their expectations. It's nice to see a new interest in getting outdoors and hunting....even if the virus caused it.

Americans turn to hunting for food, renewal during pandemic [Reuters] By Andrew Hay ,Reuters•May 3, 2020

TAOS, N.M. (Reuters) - David Elliot first thought of shooting an elk to help feed family and friends back in January when the United States reported its first novel coronavirus case.

Elliot, emergency manager at Holy Cross Hospital in Taos, New Mexico, had always wanted to go big game hunting and, with the pandemic spreading, there seemed no better time to try to fill his freezer with free-range, super-lean meat.

So for the first time in his life, despite not owning a rifle or ever having hunted large animals, he put his name in for New Mexico's annual elk permit draw.

With some U.S. meat processors halting operations as workers fall ill, stoking fears of shortages, and people having more time on their hands and possibly less money due to shutdowns and layoffs, he is among a growing number of Americans turning to hunting for food, according to state data and hunting groups.

"I understand some people might be driven by like antlers or some sort of glory. I don't want to do that," said Elliot, 37, who received a prized permit to shoot a female elk in an area of Taos County where herds of the animal graze in vast plains studded with extinct volcanoes.

Elliot plans to borrow a rifle and maybe even a horse to carry the elk back to his vehicle after the hunt in November. "I want to make sure it's a clean, humane shot, as much as possible, and get a bunch of food."

Game and fish agencies from Minnesota to New Mexico have reported an increase in either hunting license sales, permit applications, or both this spring.

Indiana saw a 28% jump in turkey license sales during the first week of the season as hunters likely had more time to get out into the woods, said Marty Benson, a spokesman for the state's department of natural resources.

Firearm manufacturers have reported sales increases, and the FBI carried out 3.74 million background checks in March, a record for any month.

That followed a 255,000 fall in the number of hunters between 2016 and 2020, based on U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service license data, a 2% fall, as fewer young people took up the activity, hunting advocates say.

Hank Forester of Quality Deer Management Association expects a resurgence after many Americans saw empty meat shelves at the grocery store for the first time during March and April.

"People are starting to consider self-reliance and where their food comes from," said Forester of the hunter research and training group. "I think we're all born hunters."

'MENTAL CLEANSE'

Teachers Brian Van Nevel and Nathaniel Evans get up at 4 a.m. to try to be first into the forests around Taos, New Mexico to hunt wild turkey.

Evans, a middle school teacher, has seen a lot more people stalking the male birds known as "gobblers" this year.

A town councilor as well, he is hunting not just for food but to reconnect with himself at a time when he is guiding Taos' response to the pandemic as well as teaching online classes.

"Its been so important for me, being able to go out and kind of cleanse my mental card and just go and be present, you really have to be present, and quiet and listening," said Evans, 38, who in April shot a 17-pound (7.7 kg) bird.

Some states such as Washington and Illinois closed state lands as the virus spread, prompting the National Rifle Association to lobby governors to keep them open to allow people to hunt for food.

Officials in Washington issued 10 poaching charges between March 25 and April 26, more than three times the number handed out during the same period a year ago, the state's fish and wildlife department reported.

'A GOOD IDEA'

Nina Stafford, 42, a building contractor from Fayetteville, Georgia, killed her first deer in January. She described the experience as "thrilling, exciting and remorseful for the deer."

"The coronavirus has only made me want to go and do it more so that I don't have that scared feeling of where's my next meal going to come from," said Stafford, who also grows vegetables and fruit.

To be sure, stocks of species like wild turkey can only sustain so many hunters. Wildlife ecologists Michael Chamberlain and Brett Collier fear the turkey's existing population decline will steepen this spring.

Turkey hunter numbers in wildlife management areas in Georgia increased 47% this year from 2019 while turkeys killed during the first 23 days of the season rose 26%, despite no recent increase in bird numbers, the ecologists wrote in a report, citing state department of natural resources preliminary data.

Not all states have reported an increase in hunting license applications, both California and Florida seeing declines.

Still, big game such as deer and antelope could see similar pressure in the fall as hunters have more time to reach kill limits, which in the case of Louisiana is 6 deer per season, and 12 in Georgia, the ecologists said.

Elk hunts are controlled by permit limits in most states and Elliot sees no downside to paying $60 for a tag that could allow him to get close to 200 pounds (91 kg) of meat, if he can get a cow elk.

"It's not just because what's going on in the world right now. Frankly I don't make that much money, so like this is just a good idea anyway," said Elliott, who plans to split the meat with an experienced-hunter friend who will accompany him.

From: Fuzzy
04-May-20
I saw that as well... I have reservations about the "borrowed rifle" thing.... I'd be more inclined to recommend he buy an "el cheapo" single shot shotgun (if he's economy minded) and practice with it. A lot.

From: JL
04-May-20
I'm thinking these new folks would still have to complete a hunter safety course prior to buying a hunting license. Hopefully they will get a good dose of reality with regards to equipment, how to hunt, game care, rules/regs, etc.

From: Scrappy
04-May-20
So glad I only hunt during the archery season.

From: spike78
04-May-20
Yeah this sounds scary lol.

From: Habitat
04-May-20
elk hunting with a single shot shotgun?

From: smarba
04-May-20
FYI in NM you only have to take Hunter's Safety if you're under 18. Older than that you're free to start slinging lead. Scary.

From: Buffalo1
04-May-20
What do you think people hunted with in the late 1700's and the 1800's.? The hunted with single-shot muskets and they fed their families.

From: Fuzzy
04-May-20
Habitat, I'd much rather elk hunt with a single shot sg I owned and knew well, than a borrowed rifle I'd only shot a couple of times.

I daresay I can take any of my old single shot 12 gauges and take a deer moose, black bear or elk as readily as most (not all) bowhunters. Similar effective range and similar accuracy.

From: Fuzzy
04-May-20
Buffalo1 yes indeed, and break-barrels can be reloaded much more quickly than frontloaders ....

From: Fields
04-May-20
mixed feelings here.... On one hand, its good, more license sales, more $$ other hand.. I seldom see new hunters really take to it.. unless the hunting is "easy" and requires little work, or its kids who were brought up in that kind of atmosphere..... Once people have to wake up early and put "work" into it, IMO, rarely do they continue it for years to come...

From: Grey Ghost
04-May-20
Along the same lines, Colorado's Parks and Wildlife announced that 2020 limited draw applications for big game were up 14,738 over 2019. So much for less crowding and point creep, but overall a win for hunting in general, IMO.

Matt

From: JL
04-May-20
After chewing on it for a bit and reading the posts here, one negative I can see is states with hunts that are OTC could have some crowding issues. Likewise first time hunters who aren't savvy in hunter courtesy and other unwritten codes could ruffle some feathers. Hopefully first-timers will have an experienced mentor to guide them on these things.

From: WI Shedhead
04-May-20
An old timer once said to me- “ beware of the man with only one gun”. A person learns how to shoot that thing when it matters fills freezers. We hunted deer with shotguns til our state opened up for rifles. My kids still use them as our shots are only 50 yards and they anchor deer

From: Ambush
04-May-20
In BC, spring licence sales are up 400%. But that could just be people getting them early for fear of agencies shutting down.

I’d be happy if 400% more bears got shot though!!

From: Fuzzy
05-May-20
this thread has me thinking....since I am not gonna get my shoulder surgery done in time to heal up for bow season.... I'm gonna be putting in a lot of time hunting squirrel and fall turkey...and hunting the "rifle" deer season...might be fun to try and do the "Virginia Slam" (white tail deer, eastern wild turkey, and black bear) with a single shot 12 gauge

From: Fuzzy
07-May-20

Fuzzy's embedded Photo
Fuzzy's embedded Photo

From: woodguy65
07-May-20

woodguy65's embedded Photo
woodguy65's embedded Photo
Single shot 20 & single shot 12 gauge heavy barreled rifled slug guns - both tack drivers....for slug guns.

From: Fuzzy
07-May-20
woodguy, nice, are they H&R Toppers?

From: woodguy65
07-May-20
H&R Ultra Slug.

From: JL
07-May-20
Those are nice. The stocks look like the Ruger laminates.

From: Trophyhill
07-May-20
I spoke with a NMG&F official the other day who told me applicant #'s were up this year. He couldn't explain why. Just that #'s were up.

From: JL
09-May-20
I'd be kinda curious of the demographics of these new hunters if they do materialize. Out of work city folks, male, female, black, white, Hispanic, young, old, etc.

From: Bou'bound
10-May-20
the net-net on this is that hunter numbers in total will fall, but of course some people that never hunted before will take up the sport.....just like every other year.

From: hcrat
16-May-20
Wow.I certainly would not be happy being in the woods with people unfamiliar with hunting and especially with someone who borrowed a rifle. They would shoot at the first movement they saw-could be you or me. Pass on this and it is not a good idea.

From: Fuzzy
26-May-20

Fuzzy's embedded Photo
Fuzzy's embedded Photo
my "can't bowhunt but still need a challenge" pig hunt.... self imposed max range on the old shotgun was 15 yards

From: Fuzzy
27-May-20
Habitat, the .69 inch diameter, 485 grain round lead ball penetrated both shoulder blades and the heaviest part of the spinal vertebra, exited and went who-knows where...I surmise I could puncture both lungs on an elk or bison

From: Will
27-May-20
Those HR's bring me back to my first gun, a 20 gauge HR I won in a raffle for my high school fish and game club's annual banquet, donated by DU. A friends son is using it now as he learns, and mine likely will soon.

I'm for the influx of new blood. As with anything some what "panic" driven, of the people who get started, I bet only a few sustain it, some small percent, like 10% or something. But that's more than were actively in our "ranks" today. So it's good! Keep em coming.

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