Interesting Article about the demographics of American Hunters and affect on conservation

superdutch

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I didn't realize hunters made up such a small proportion of the population.

https://www.npr.org/2018/03/20/593001800/decline-in-hunters-threatens-how-u-s-pays-for-conservation


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BRICKBURN

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My provincial statistics. WE ARE A MINORITY.

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Shootist43

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The downward trend is sad but true. I was not aware of the magic wall i.e. age 65 when hunters hang up their firearms. According to that I should have quit hunting 10 years ago.
 

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What a very important article. Thanks for posting.
 

mdwest

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I'd like to see the research that supports the "65" wall. My experience is a complete opposite of what is reflected in the article.

When my father in law retired (an avid hunter all of his life), he started hunting MORE. After he stopped working he had more discretionary time available, whereas before he might get to the deer woods 2 or 3 weekends a year.. he now doesnt miss a weekend at all during deer season, and is just as likely to take a couple of days during the week and sit in his stand as he is to stay home.. He is in his mid 70's and will likely continue hunting and fishing with regularity until his body just wont support the activity anymore..

My uncle and father were who primarily influenced me and introduced me to hunting as a kid.. My uncle passed away in his late 60's, but was still hunting regularly after retirement.. My father slowed down quite a bit 30 years ago (got busy with work, kids in college, etc..), but is now in his 70's and still hunts..

I honestly cant think of a single person I have known in the half century I have been on the planet that sometime around retirement age just stopped buying licenses and decided that was a good time to give up hunting..

Im not saying the 65 year old wall cited in the article doesnt exist...

But if it does, I certainly have never seen any evidence of it..
 

mrpoindexter

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I have a proposal. Since there is an excise tax on all my guns, bullets, bows and arrows that is applied to wildlife conservation, why don't we add a tax to donations to conservation NGOs that does the same. If HSUS gets $1 million in donations, force 25% of it to go to conservation through a special tax.

It would be VERY interesting to see them try and oppose 25% of their revenue for "animal protection" being sent to the fish and wildlife departments to be actually spent on wildlife.
 

superdutch

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And then think how many go to Africa hunting, or even any overseas hunting trips. Less than a drop in a bucket.

With all the debate about lion and elephant imports, I was surprised that it was, if I recall correctly, there less than 1000 each per year imported. That is, there are less than 1000 elephant and lion imports into the US each year. Basically nothing in a country with a population of 324,000,000.

I hope there are still kids out there reading Capstick etc. and dreaming of one day taking safari. (I now know he was a storytelling bartender - but he could sure tell a story!) I remember reading him as a sophomore in high school. At the time I wouldn't have dreamed that I would end up going to hunt Africa regularly years later! Maybe I will buy Death in the Long Grass for my kids school.
 

wesheltonj

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My father is 90 and will be 91 next month, last weekend we were putting feed in feeders. Last season he harvested a buck deer. I have a feeling that 65 average does not apply in Texas.
 

CAustin

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The downward trend is sad but true. I was not aware of the magic wall i.e. age 65 when hunters hang up their firearms. According to that I should have quit hunting 10 years ago.

No way Art! We got some safaris left for you to do!
 

Dragan N.

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Around 30-40% of the US population owns guns yet only like 4% of the total pop. hunts. I honestly think this enormous discrepancy between the 2 is due more to the increasing costs of hunting and lack of access to land etc... than because of "ethical" reasons.
 

Edgar DeHart Jr.

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I have two observations with respect to the article.

First: Non-hunters will not willingly contribute financially to wildlife conservation the way we hunters and fisherman do. I have personally witnessed in my work environment two bird watchers (both HSUS/PETA types) bitching and complaining about having to pay access fees to a National Wildlife Refuge. While this is merely anecdotal, we all know these types don't pay their way. Whereas hunters groups actually lobbied for an increase in the cost of Federal Duck Stamps to aid in funding these same refuges. Its essentially the same as the hunting vs. photo tourism scenario in Africa. As I said, non-hunters just aren't willing to pay for wildlife conservation at anywhere near the same level as we are.

Second: I agree with the observations of others here that people they know don't stop hunting when they turn 65. My father, as well as his hunting friends, started hunting more after retirement. They didn't have to ask permission to take off work for that trip to Colorado, so they started taking it every year until the mountains started getting too tough to climb (well past ag 65). My father spends far more days afield, even if he does't travel as far from home, than he did when he worked. As I recall, back then he did a lot more wishing than hunting due to his work obligations. However, turning 65 was a special day for him. That was when he was no longer legally obligated to buy a hunting license in his home state of Virginia. I suspect a lot of other states have similar laws. So it does not surprise me in the least that wildlife agencies see a dramatic decrease in hunting license sales when these people are no longer obligated to purchase them. This has nothing to do with hunters putting away their guns.
 

Hogpatrol

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@mdwest, check out this link. It's the PA hunting license sales report. Look at the adult and the Senior sales. Ten percent drop in Adult and look at the Senior classifications an even bigger drop.

http://www.pgc.pa.gov/HuntTrap/LicensesandPermits/Pages/HuntingLicenseSalesReport.aspx

http://www.nj.com/news/index.ssf/2016/12/number_of_hunters_continues_to_decline_in_new_jers.html

I can give anecdotal evidence for my hunting club. We have 50 members, mostly boomers and older. Due to the drop in the amount of guys actually hunting, and what the landowner wants in the way of deer kills, the club accepted some younger members to pick up the slack (and they did). Years ago before I became a member of that club I hunted upstate PA. Our deer camp had as many as thirteen hunters, WW2 vets and their kids, now down to zero and looking for someone to tear it down for the lumber (The only thing the PA tax collectors are missing are masks and guns but that's another story).
 

leslie hetrick

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I have hunted my whole life, first at 9 years old on the farm and kept it up hot and heavy into my teens and then I got a invite to hunt by uncle sam in Vietnam. after that I took a few years off, but soon fell into the bad habit again and it has no abated since. I have managed to hunt mexico-canada and out west, in 2013 I accepted a invite to hunt in south Africa and Botswana and have gone back now four more times. I will not make it back to Africa this year, but I,m planning on a 2019 trip. so you can see bad habits tend to stay with you and are hard to break, so at 74 I just gave up and gave in and will hunt until death over takes me.

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Hogpatrol

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Good for you Leslie. I am of the same thought process. Hunt until I'm dead even if it's just varmints.
 

edward

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The downward trend is sad but true. I was not aware of the magic wall i.e. age 65 when hunters hang up their firearms. According to that I should have quit hunting 10 years ago.
im 79,dont you dare quit,i aint.
 

wesheltonj

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From Tyler, Texas newspaper

For the 2014-15 license year Texas Parks and Wildlife Department sold more than 2.7 million licenses, stamps and permits, generating almost $93 million in revenue. That was an increase of about 1 percent in license sales and more than 2 percent in revenue.


Total hunting and fishing license sales alone last year were 2.39 million. That included 440,919 Super Combo packages, easily the most popular option. Last year's Super Combo sales were an increase of 16,800 over the previous year. The $68 license includes both hunting and fishing licenses, and all the state stamp endorsements required for hunting and fishing.

Showing that Texans are well-rounded in outdoor activities, the number of Super Combo licenses sold easily tops the 300,886 resident hunting licenses and 229,489 resident freshwater fishing licenses sales - the second and third most popular options.

Combining all options, TPWD sold more than 1.2 million hunting licenses and more than 1.7 million fishing licenses last year.

Since 1925, Texas hunters have had to have a license. Sales of fishing licenses to fish on lakes and rivers began in 1927, but only for those fishing with artificial lures. Saltwater fishing licenses came about in 1957.

Showing how the state has grown, in the 1950s, Texas was selling just 10,000 more total hunting licenses than it sold Super Combos last year, about 450,000.


TPWD sold about 500,000 in the 1960s, but made a monumental leap in 1966 to 745,000.

Texas crossed the million-hunter mark in hunting license sales in 1982, and a year later overtook Michigan as the No. 2 state in sales behind Pennsylvania. In 1987 Texas sold more hunting license than Pennsylvania for the first time.

The three states traded places back and forth throughout the '90s, but in the mid-2000s Texas again took the lead in sales and has not relinquished it.

Looking back at last year there was a slight decline in youth license sales, a change from recent years when youth numbers increased annually.

From Shooting Sports Foundation:


According to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service National Hunting License Report, which uses data reported by state wildlife agencies, the number of paid hunting license holders in the United States was almost 15.41 million in 2014. That was a jump of 571,152, or about 3.85 percent, from 2013 and the highest total since 1993. It also marked the second consecutive year paid license holders increased.



Meanwhile, the gross cost paid for licenses, tags, permits and stamps purchased nationwide rose to more than $824 million in 2014, an increase of more than $4.06 million from 2013. That was the third consecutive year that total increased.



Data for 2014 was calculated in 2016. In the report, a paid license holder is one person, regardless of the number of licenses purchased. People who hunted in multiple states are counted in each state.



Not surprisingly, Texas had the highest number of paid hunting license holders in 2014, with more than 1.13 million. Pennsylvania had 980,613, and Michigan (767,896), Tennessee (734,733), Wisconsin (719,110) rounded out the top five.



Wisconsin had the most total licenses, tags, permits and stamps in 2014 with more than 2.94 million. Pennsylvania was second with more than 2.66 million. Michigan had more than 1.88 million, Missouri had more than 1.82 million, and Texas had more than 1.61 million.



Colorado was the top state in 2014 for gross cost of licenses, tags, permits and stamps at almost $54 million. Texas was No. 2 with more than $43 million, followed by Wisconsin, more than $37.29 million; Pennsylvania, more than $37.09 million; and Illinois, more than $33.83 million.



Based on USFWS data, the number of paid hunting license holders has remained fairly steady for more than 20 years. Agency data put the number of license holders at more than 15.63 million in 1993. Since then, the number has fluctuated modestly, dipping to slightly less than 15 million in 1997 and 1998, topping 15 million again in 1999 and 2000, going as low as 14.45 million in 2008 and then rebounding in recent years. USFWS license-holder numbers peaked in 1982 at almost 16.75 million.



Those figures might actually understate the total number of hunters in the United States. The National Shooting Sports Foundation, as quoted in an October 2015 business.realtree.com blog, said many people who consider themselves hunters do not purchase a license and hunt every year.



“Approximately 65 percent of hunters do purchase a license and go hunting each year,” NSSF pointed out in the blog. “The remaining group may only hunt once every several years; however, they still consider themselves hunters. A recent study, Portrait of Today’s Hunters, conducted by Southwick Associates, determined that there are approximately 21 million individuals who have purchased at least one hunting license during a five-year period.”
 

IdaRam

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Consider the source (NPR) of the article in the OP. While there is no question hunters are a relatively small minority of the overall population, and in some areas hunter numbers are in decline, there are many places where hunter numbers are increasing.
Articles such as this like to say things like A new survey by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service shows that today, only about 5 percent of Americans, 16 years old and older, actually hunt. That's half of what it was 50 years ago and the decline is expected to accelerate over the next decade.
They are quoting percentage of total population and it may be true, as a percentage of the total population hunter numbers are declining. However, the percentage can decline while the total number of hunters increase or stay flat.
There is so much propaganda in that article it is impossible to know what is fact and what is fiction, spin from reality.
There is a movement afoot to change the way game departments across the country are funded. Antis hate that sportsmen have the high ground and MUCH financial leverage with game departments. SPORTSMEN AND WOMEN need to understand what will happen if Sportmens dollars are no longer the major source of funding for game departments. We will no longer have a voice.
I believe the info @wesheltonj just posted above much more accurately paints the REAL picture of hunter numbers and trends.
Sorry, the NPR article is propaganda with enough spin to stabilize a top.
 

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