Within the last few years, there have been a number of statistical studies indicating that hunting is not as popular as it once was. This comes as no surprise, given the internet age we now live in. People would rather spend more time with their smartphones than enjoying the great outdoors. The question is whether anything can be done about it or not.
Proponents of hunting know that what they do is not only vital to land and animal management, but it is also good for the human soul as well. Hunting is all about getting outdoors to experience nature. It is about managing nature while at the same time providing food for yourself. And when entire families are involved, it is about building strong relationships.
Keeping hunting alive for future generations is important enough that hunting clubs from New York to California are aggressively pursuing a younger audience by offering hunting classes and special events. By introducing hunting to young people as a leisure activity, hunting clubs are able to turn them on to something their ancestors have been doing for thousands of years.
Hunting by the Numbers
Looking at recent statistics does not clearly indicate the waning popularity of hunting unless you know what you are looking at. According to 2016 data from Statistic Brain:
- 12.5 million people over the age of 16 hunt
- 185 million hunting trips are taken every year
- $22.9 billion is spent on hunting annually
- 2.3 million hunters hunt migratory birds
- 1.1 million hunters hunt other animals
- 91% of all hunters are male
- 25% of all hunters are between age 35 and 44.
Although the statistics look strong (and they are) here is one that might surprise you: just 7% of the U.S. population hunts. Now you know why hunting clubs are sponsoring hunting classes and special events to introduce hunting to a younger audience.
Teaching about Nature and Management
The American Hunting Lease Association (AHLA), an organization that represents landowners and lessees, says that introducing hunting to a younger audience is key to securing its future in America. Where the average hunting club has to worry about things like a hunting insurance policy and lease details, they cannot focus only on the ‘here and now’ of each hunting season. They need to start looking to the future as well.
Quite a few hunting clubs get younger hunters started by focusing on birds. Bird hunting offers an opportunity to begin educating youth about the migratory nature of birds, how they can be safely hunted, and how hunting helps manage populations. The guns used in bird hunting are also more easily managed by younger hunters.
A hunting club may sponsor a summer-long class that introduces kids to the concepts of bird hunting. They can practice their rifle skills on a shooting course with clay pigeons. Come late summer and early fall, the young hunters are ready to go out into the real world with family and club members to put their skills to the test.
Protect Your Hunting Club
In light of an ongoing effort to offer classes and special events to younger hunters, the AHLA reminds hunting clubs to protect themselves with an appropriate hunting insurance policy. Club officials already go to great lengths to ensure a safety-first mentality – which they should – but accidents do happen.
Hunting classes and special youth events are a fantastic way to introduce hunting to a younger audience. They are key to keeping hunting going for future generations of Americans who love the great outdoors and the experience of nature.