By A. Page for Havalon Knives
It’s obvious that the outdoor sports have fewer people participating in them now than they did 30 years ago. Plus, the population has grown, yet the number of people interested in hunting and fishing has declined. Whether we blame urbanization or video games, lack of mentoring or the recession, the facts remain that the decline of outdoor sports is dangerous…for a few reasons.
1. States are selling fewer hunting and fishing licenses, therefore the revenue usually created by the sales of those licenses is down. Way down.
2. Preservation efforts that were funded by the sales of state hunting and fishing licenses have lost funding and are now vulnerable to commercial interests.
3. Predator versus prey numbers are way out of whack.
4. Over-population of animals leads to starvation and illness. For instance, there are so many deer that they’re starving and relying on the kindness of strangers who’ll put food in their backyards for them. This lures deer into populated areas, though, and raises the risk of hitting one with your car.
A few states have tried various methods to raise awareness and participation in the outdoor sports. Schools have tried public education courses for districts that have 20 or more interested students. Seventeen states offer Apprentice Hunting Licenses that allow beginning hunters to hunt with a mentor until their education is complete. States have lowered the age limit for licenses. And, the NRA sponsors youth education classes as well as works to defend hunters’ rights.
But what can we do as individuals who recognize hunting as a valuable pastime that teaches resourcefulness and remarkable skills? Well, we can start at home. Hunt and fish with your children. Encourage their friends to come along (with parental permission). When confronted by someone who claims hunting is “cruel,” remind them of programs such as the ministry Farmers and Hunters Feeding the Hungry. The ministry takes donated deer from hunters and pays for them to be processed and given to hungry families. Remind those individuals that hunting is like farming in that it is a way to provide food for humans. Too often, non-hunters can get caught up in the bloody images of field dressing and forget that what is being dressed is what will later go in their slow cooker.
Hunting and fishing have never lost their cool. But, let’s make them popular again. Outdoor sports are too valuable to be in such decline. Future generations depend on our actions in the present.
Send us your solutions to the problem: what else can we do to promote the awareness and popularity of hunting and fishing? Leave a comment and let us know what you think.
And check out the National Shooting Sports Foundation’s “Five Actions for Hunters to Take.”
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