Popularity of Hunting wanes

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Luv2Hunt
 
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Popularity of Hunting wanes

Postby Luv2Hunt » Mon Dec 13, 2010 1:41 pm

Interesting article I thought I would share with all of you

 
By TODD RICHMOND
The Associated Press
updated 12/12/2010 3:59:55 PM ET 2010-12-12T20:59:55

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[/align]MADISON, Wis. — Classroom desks and office cubicles stand empty. Hunters in blaze orange stand out like drops of bright paint against brown fields. Pub parking lots are crowded with [url=http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/40631077/ns/us_news-life/##]pickup trucks[/url] draped with deer carcasses.
This is Wisconsin's gun deer season, a tradition as engrained in this rugged state's identity as beer, brats and cheese. But as the years slide by, fewer people seem to care.
Hunting's popularity has waned across much of the country as housing tracts replace forests, aging hunters hang up their guns and kids plop down in front of [url=http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/40631077/ns/us_news-life/##]Facebook[/url] rather than venture outdoors 
The falloff could have far-reaching consequences, hunting enthusiasts say. Fewer hunters mean less revenue for a multi-billion dollar industry and government conservation efforts. It also signals what could be the beginning of the end of an American tradition.
"As paradoxical as it may seem, if hunting were to disappear, a large amount of the funding that goes to restore all sorts of wildlife habitat, game and nongame species alike, would disappear," said Steve Sanetti, National Shooting Sports Foundation president.
Hunting generates billions in retail sales and pumps hundreds of millions of dollars into government conservation efforts annually through license sales and federal taxes on firearms and ammunition sales.
But fewer hunters return to the sport each year. The U.S. [url=http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/40631077/ns/us_news-life/##]Fish and Wildlife[/url] Service estimates 33 states saw declines in hunting license sales over the last two decades. The sharpest drop was in Massachusetts, which has seen a 50 percent falloff in hunting license sales during that time.
Millions of Americans still hunt, of course, and some states have seen increases in license sales over the last 20 years. But the overarching decline has outdoor advocates worried.
Suburban sprawl has consumed prime hunting land, forcing many hunters to choose between driving for hours to get to the woods or staying home.
Gerald Feaser, a Pennsylvania Game Commission spokesman, said his state's urban footprint has nearly doubled since the early 1980s.
"Whole farms turned into housing developments or shopping malls," he said. "Once that land is lost, you can't get it back."
More children are growing up in front of computer screens rather than romping through the woods.
"Fifty years ago, a lot of kids would hunt and fish and be outside," said Mark Damian Duda, executive director of Responsive Management, a Virginia-based natural resources research group. "Now it's easier to sit in your playroom and play video games."
Craig Hilliard, 65, runs the Pheasant Inn, a Briggsville, Wis., resort that doubles as a deer registration station. He said he knows about two dozen hunters who have retired from the sport.
"There are not enough of the young people taking up the sport to replace who's retiring," he said.
The dropoffs have hurt state conservation agencies that rely heavily on license sales for funding.
In Massachusetts, the lost revenue has hampered the state's habitat restoration efforts and its ability to repair its vehicles. State wildlife officials have pooled resources with other conservation groups and pursue federal grants more aggressively, said Marion Larson, a Massachusetts [url=http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/40631077/ns/us_news-life/##]Department of Fish and Game[/url] biologist.
"It's forced us to be more creative with money we have," Larson said. "That's going to continue into the future, and not just here in Massachusetts ."
Michigan, meanwhile, has seen a 31 percent drop in overall license sales over the last 20 years, according to the [url=http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/40631077/ns/us_news-life/##]U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service[/url]. The ensuing revenue losses mean wildlife officials haven't been able to fill 35 vacant positions and have taken a less detailed approach to managing the deer population.
In Pennsylvania, license sales have dipped 20 percent over the last two decades. The state's game commission has had to cut spending by about a million dollars in the last two years, cutting back efforts to repopulate pheasants, leaving 30 positions unfilled and asking employees to repair their own vehicles, Feaser said.
Decreasing license sales in Wisconsin, one of the nation's destination spots for deer hunting, hasn't been as drastic, falling 2.5 percent over the last 20 years. But the dropoff has grown dramatically steeper in the last decade. License sales for the state's traditional November firearms deer hunt dropped 9 percent between 2000 and 2009.
A fee increase in 2005 has kept revenue relatively flat over the last decade, said Joe Polasek, the state DNR's budget director. But the money hasn't covered rising expenses such as building rentals and health insurance, preventing the agency from filling about 60 positions.
To help stave off the losses, states and outdoors groups have been stepping up efforts to retain and recruit hunters. The U.S. Sportsmen's Alliance, the National Shooting Sports Foundation and National Wild Turkey Federation launched the program Families Afield in 2005 that calls for states to scale back youth hunting regulations. Thirty states have since reduced or eliminated minimum hunting ages, NSSF spokesman Bill Brassard Jr. said.
Michigan officials have offered more hunting workshops for women and children. They also hope to use a federal grant to bolster participation in a decades-old program that pays some landowners up to $10 an acre to let hunters onto their property. Only about 50 farms out of potentially thousands currently participate, state officials said.
Wisconsin's Department of Natural Resources is researching how best to use social networking to recruit kids into the sport. The agency also expanded its Learn to Hunt program last year to offer reimbursements to hunting clubs and associations that teach children and novices about the sport.
The National Shooting Sports Foundation's Sanetti said his organization is working to recruit new gun owners who rushed to purchase firearms out of fears President Barack Obama would stiffen gun regulations into hunting.
But the hunting fabric continues to fray.
Jeff Schinkten of Sturgeon Bay, Wis., is president of Whitetails Unlimited, a national conservation organization that works to preserve deer hunting. He said his 33-year-old son, Oliver, recently gave up the sport after years of seeing no deer and taking care of a newborn child.
"I miss my son and wish he was out here," Schinkten said. "Hunters better be concerned. If it keeps going like this, it's not going to be good. We lose hunters, we lose license sales. It's just a vicious circle."
 

Chainsaw
 
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RE: Popularity of Hunting wanes

Postby Chainsaw » Tue Dec 14, 2010 7:42 am

I truly despise articles like this. They never tell the whole story and in my opinion contribute to the troubles sportmen face. Expanded regulation, inaccessible public lands, and ever increasing of hunting fees contribute to the decline in huinting "tradition"

I do not feel for state game agencies wasting our funding sources on ESA nonsence, and impractical programs like CWD eradication. All these programs do is "make a paycheck" for some beauracrat, and have not helped for the most part the intended species they were designed to save.

In my opinion the government (as usual) carries a great deal of the weight for "lost traditions" and we are sad lot for letting them do so. Government seems to be a big black hole that we keep pouring our money into that has shown little results.

wisbooner3932
 
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RE: Popularity of Hunting wanes

Postby wisbooner3932 » Wed Dec 15, 2010 1:35 pm

Sadly, I'm beginning to see the effects of housing developments first hand.  My Grandpa used to own close to 180 acres, but when he quit farming in the early-90's he sold off 40 acres.  The people that bought it built a house in prime deer habitat (and after they signed the papers, told my Grandpa that NO ONE could hunt it) they now split up their 40 and are trying to sell 20 acres of it.  If someone builds a house on that it could really screw up the hunting, more than it already has been, on the west side of my Grandpa's property.  Their has also been a house built along the south edge of the property that used to serve as a funnel for deer but not so much anymore. [:(] 
 
I have a prediction, many people may disagree with it but Ill state it anyways.  In the not so distant future (30-40 years) hunting in America will become much like it is in Europe today, where only the rich hunt.  The cost of hunting these days is skyrocketing with equipment prices, gas prices, land prices and most everything associated with hunting increasing dramatically.  To add to this, there are more anti's today then there ever have been.  People don't look at hunting as a primary source of food anymore, they claim we have grocery stores for that.  It's a sad state of affairs but I think society is shifting towards this more every year.  The only thing contradicting this prediction is all the state land available to hunters, but let's face it; for the most part deer are hard to find there which will cause a decrease hunter numbers due "boring" hunts.  Furthermore, the obsession with big antlers is really hurting hunting, I am guilty of this myself.  Hunting is becoming more industrialized with all the outfitters that have "big bucks."  A lot of these outfitters buy up large tracts of land, or at the very least lease large tracts of land, pushing your "everyday hunter"  from the area due to increased land and leasing rates.  All I can say is I hope I am dead wrong but this just seems to be the direction hunting is heading in this country...at least for Whitetails anyways. [:(][:(][:(] 
You can take my gun, from my cold dead hands.

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Jslotter
 
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RE: Popularity of Hunting wanes

Postby Jslotter » Wed Dec 15, 2010 2:13 pm

I don't like the fact they blame all this on kids being lazy and fat. Its our duty as parents to show these kids the traditions of hunting and fishing. You have to start them young. If they don't pick up on it, then so be it. All it takes is one good day of being in the outdoors with your kids and that could change them forever.
Wisbooner, you mentioned heavy developments in the rural areas. I can say that is true for my area also. Up the road in the last decade all these rich sallies came out of the Twin cities and decided to buy up some land and build $500,000 homes in the same spot my neighbor used to sit on a 5 gallon bucket on top of a knoll and shoot big bucks every year. Land has been cleared of trees around the immediate area for more development in the coming years. I live on a lonely back road, middle of no where kind of place and I always thought this kind of place would keep the yuppies out. I was wrong. Thats the type of stuff they are looking for nowadays. So, what will happen when all that becomes city limits and all the deer camps that are barely around anymore go away. I am concerned to see what will become of deer hunting in the coming years. Is it bad when I have to think of possibly finding another property to hunt next year?
I only hunt on days that end in ' Y '.


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