Every now and then we see an article about how hunting is declining in America. Actually, the number has stabilized and in some regions grown. I would like to issue all hunters a challenge for the upcoming season: invite someone to hunt with you who has never hunted before. The NC Wildlife Resources Commission has a Hunting Mentor program and you can get details at www.ncwildlife.org. The National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF) also has ten points that remind us why it’s important that we introduce new people to hunting.
Build the Base: Where will the next generation of sportsmen and women come from who will support our firearms, hunting and shooting freedoms? Of course, they will be the ones who you introduce to our sports today. Invite someone to hunt or target shoot.
Top Factor: More than 90 million U.S. adults 18 and over expressed at least some interest in participating in hunting or target shooting, according NSSF/Harris polls. The top factor in getting them to participate was an invitation from a friend or family member.
Peer Power: Approximately 15 million youth who are not hunters or target shooters and are between the ages of 8 and 17 would consider giving these activities a try if asked by a peer, according to a study commissioned by the Hunting Heritage Trust and NSSF and conducted by Responsive Management. Youth who are already in shooting programs should remember that their friends are waiting for an invitation to give shooting or hunting a try under adult supervision.
Approval: Approximately three-quarters of youth and adults approve of hunting and target shooting, so it is not surprising that people are purchasing firearms and participating in the shooting sports in records numbers.
Safer Than Golf: Hunting is safer than golf and many other sporting activities, according to injury statistics. As for target shooting, accidents are extremely rare.
Generosity: Educate a new hunter that he or she can donate venison to charitable food outlets to help feed those in need. Hunter donations make possible about 11 million venison meals annually.
Giving Back: By purchasing firearms, ammunition and hunting licenses, sportsmen and women contribute more than $1 billion annually to protect wildlife and habitat and fund shooting range development. This funding mechanism has helped restore populations of species such as the Wild Turkey and White-tailed Deer that were struggling to survive 100 years ago.
Elevate Ethics: Firearms ownership and participation in both hunting and target shooting help youth and adults develop an ethical, responsible approach toward wildlife and wild places, and toward firearms. Learn more at http://www.nssf.org/lit/EthicalHunter.pdf
Did You Ever Consider? With their newfound knowledge and perspective on hunting, target shooting and firearms ownership, newcomers can respond to misinformed statements about these topics at work and social gatherings with a simple, “Did you ever consider this?”
Preparedness: Self-reliance is a core American value. Whether you learn to shoot for recreation, hunting or personal and home defense, you will have gained a new and valuable skill.
Ever wonder why all the sporting goods catalogs have so much clothing and gear for deer hunters? It’s all in the numbers. A recent report from Southwick Associates tells the tale. “Annual hunting expenditures total approximately $22 billion dollars in the United States each year, and 83 percent of those who hunt, hunt deer. Do the math and the vast majority of hunting expenditures in any given year are directed towards hunting deer, particularly whitetails,” said Rob Southwick, president of Southwick Associates. Roughly three-quarters of all U.S. hunters—more than 10 million men and women—deer hunt each fall. Many businesses and organizations strive to serve this community of outdoor enthusiasts and by understanding where they spend their money and what they actually buy, they are able to gain an edge on their competition.
Here is some of the information found in the report: 84 percent of deer hunters read some type of hunting magazine between October and December 2011, the most usage of any one media type; the average number of days spent bow hunting deer by bow hunters in the months when they hunt is 4.91; deer hunters pursue many other species as well. The most hunted species after deer, by those who identify themselves as deer hunters, is wild turkey, with 32 percent of them hunting turkeys during the year as well.