The popularity of hunting as a sport has dropped sharply in recent years. Older generations that grew up as hunters are retiring from the sport or giving up altogether as forests disappear. The younger generation doesn’t seem to be inclined to take up the pastime. While this may please some animal lovers on the face of it, the drop-off could have serious consequences.
Why Hunters Are Disappearing
The chief reason may be suburban sprawl. As housing developments and shopping malls spring up everywhere to satisfy growing populations, the woodlands are vanishing. Technology is another reason. Today, our youth are less inclined to spend their time outdoors. Instead, they’re glued to computer screens and smartphones, playing games or posting on Facebook. They will find it cheaper and easier to stay home and play a hunting video game than actually get out into the woods.
Benefits of Hunting
Hunting has long been a form of population control as native species spread beyond their dwindling habitat. Exploding deer populations are already a threat to crops and landscaping in many areas, not to mention vehicle traffic and the spread of illnesses like Lyme disease. Also, the sales of guns and hunting equipment generates billions of dollars in the economy, and that means jobs. These sales includes taxes and license fees that are earmarked for conservation efforts. Declining sales, ironically, are reducing the ability of forestry departments, conservationists, and wildlife officials to do their jobs.
An American Tradition
Hunters see their sport as a wholesome tradition harking back to the days of the first colonists and settlers taming the vast American wilderness. We are by nature meat-eaters. But to a hunter, the sport is not so much about killing and taking a trophy as it is a test of knowledge and skills. It’s also a great way to get away from the stresses of society and enjoy nature in a very fundamental way. .
Hunters must also master their basic equipment, which generally means firearms. Safe and responsible gun ownership is an important part of the hunting tradition. Hunters select and purchase guns legally and for a specific purpose from a place like First Southern Service. While gun control is a hot topic again, many gun, nature, and hunting organizations are reaching out to younger people across social media and other channels to stir up interest in the sport. Of course, your local hunting or gun shop can also answer any questions you have.
The fall-off in hunting has many related industries and organizations concerned. If you feel an interest in hunting, remember that it’s an intrinsic part of our economy, history, and current wildlife management efforts. Reach out to one of these organizations and learn what hunting is really all about.