Put Down The Kombucha & Pick Up A Crossbow: Hipsters Are The New Hunters

rinehart0050

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https://www.wsj.com/articles/put-do...sbow-hipsters-are-the-new-hunters-11547052935

Here's a pretty positive look at a program looking to recruit new hunters in the Wall Street Journal:

Want organic, sustainable meat? Kill it yourself, say veteran hunters trying to appeal to the next generation of recruits to keep the sport alive

By
Cameron McWhirter and
Zusha Elinson
Jan. 9, 2019 11:55 a.m. ET

Put Down the Kombucha and Pick Up a Crossbow: Hipsters Are the New Hunters
www.wsj.com


BOGART, Ga.—A group of veteran hunters set out last month in a forest northeast of Atlanta with apprentices. Among them, a former vegetarian, a Haitian-born grad student and a farmers-market manager. They wore camouflage and carried crossbows.

They were aiming to kill white-tailed deer. But the real target: new hunters.

HC-GW722_Evans_G_20190109111542.jpg

Sustainable
The number of Americans 16 and older who hunt is down 18% from two decades ago, according to federal data. An older generation of hunters is trying to lure recruits to the sport by pitching it as a good way to ensure meat is local, sustainable and probably organic.

“Earthy crunchy aligns very well with deer hunting,” says Charles Evans, 29, who works in hunter recruitment for the Georgia Wildlife Federation.

The December hunt, aimed at relative newbies, was organized by Field to Fork, a project started in 2016 by a 60,000-member national hunting group. The project locates its human targets at places such as a farmers market in Athens, Ga., where it provides samples of venison.

The trainees use crossbows, which are quieter than guns and let them train and hunt on properties closer to civilization. For some first-time hunters, the equipment is more palatable than firearms—though most rifles can shoot farther.

Frank Kennedy Jr., 25, on the hunt from nearby Winder, Ga., says he joined the program because he wanted to “eat food where I knew where it came from” but found hunting “intimidating from the get-go.” Now he regularly goes out to the forest to hunt.

Once a staple of American life, hunting has declined as the percentage of people living in rural areas shrinks and fewer people have the time or need for a pastime requiring patience and the willingness to kill an animal.

Field to Fork hunters wait in a deer stand last month. Photo: Dustin Chambers for The Wall Street Journal

There aren’t enough interested people to replace those over 45 who make up the bulk of active hunters, says Loren Chase, a former Arizona Game and Fish Department official who heads a statistical consulting firm specializing in natural resources.

“It will be a slow gradual trend downward,” he says, “that will begin to steepen after 2035.”

Doug Brames, a 52-year-old Florida marketing executive, learned to hunt from his father and grandfather in rural Indiana but had trouble teaching his two sons while raising them in suburban Michigan and Arkansas.

Instead of expressing excitement, they always had questions whose answers they didn’t like. What time do we have to get up? “5 a.m.” Are we going to shoot anything? “It’s called hunting for a reason, son.” They would opt to sleep in and play videogames after a week packed with school and sports.

His son Brock, now a 21-year-old University of Florida junior, says he didn’t have the patience to “wake up at four in the morning and then get up in a tree stand for three or four hours and then hope a deer goes by.”

Over Christmas break, the son did try hunting and skinning a deer—in the new hit videogame “Red Dead Redemption 2.” “The character in the videogame picks it up by the neck and cuts a slit on its belly in one fell swoop. My dad was like ‘That’s not realistic!’ ”

The younger generation is an elusive quarry.

The National Rifle Association offers training programs and competitions for young hunters. The National Wildlife Federation’s Artemis initiative works to recruit, train and spotlight sportswomen who have traditionally made up a small portion of hunters.



Edwin Pierre-Louis shows a cellphone photo of a recent kill. Photos: Dustin Chambers for The Wall Street Journal

Programs like Field to Fork aim at younger adults with disposable income who never learned how to hunt. Hank Forester, 33, says he came up with the program over beers with Mr. Evans after being inspired by the bustling Athens farmers market where University of Georgia students and others flock for local produce.

His group handed out brochures with slogans like “HARVEST your own LOCAL MEAT” and “HUNTERS ARE THE ORIGINAL CONSERVATIONISTS.”

“We didn’t lead with, ‘Hey, do you want to go shoot a deer?’ ” says Mr. Forester, a hunting programs manager at the Quality Deer Management Association, the group that sponsors Field to Fork. “If you’re talking about local, sustainable—I can’t certify organic—you can’t do better than white-tailed deer.”

The program, which offers hunting and venison-cooking classes, now operates in eight states, Mr. Forester says.

‘It’s all I can think about,’ says former vegetarian Jennifer DeMoss, left, about hunting. Photo:Dustin Chambers for The Wall Street Journal

David Kidd, 67, a retired owner of a landscape company near Athens, signed up to be a mentor because he saw friends and family, including his son, give up hunting. He says he learned that a hunter “doesn’t have to look like me.”

The program has bagged new hunters like Jennifer DeMoss, 40, who was a vegetarian several years in her 20s. She later concluded humans were omnivores who should eat meat ethically, so she began to eat roadkill meat. The anthropology grad student discovered Field to Fork at the farmers market and figured hunting, too, was ethical.

Her first kill, with her mentor in 2017, gave her a “familiar, comfortable, exhilarating feeling,” she says, and gratitude the animal gave its life so she could eat. Now she heads to the forest as often as she can. “It’s all I can think about.”

She was among those at the December hunt. Wearing camouflage and orange hats and vests, the hunters spread out to stands in trees and waited for deer to forage at dusk.

One was Edwin Pierre-Louis, 31, a Haitian immigrant and University of Georgia grad student studying parasites. He says that growing up in Haiti, he would hunt birds with slingshots but no one taught him to hunt larger game. He signed up for Field to Fork in 2017. “There are people like me who really want to learn to hunt.”

Sarah Thurman, right, geared up to hunt. Photo:Dustin Chambers for The Wall Street Journal

Another person on the hunt was Sarah Thurman, 30, market manager at the Athens Farmers Market, who says she long wanted to learn the sport but no one around her growing up outside Los Angeles knew how. She joined Field to Fork last year and says hunting helps people to “opt out of the systems of mass production” for food.

It is also appealing because it gives her a primal sense of self-reliance, she says. “There is this animal side of you.”

Shivering, the would-be hunters occasionally whispered to each other in the darkening forest. One group saw fawns that didn’t come close enough to shoot. Everyone else saw only squirrels.

When night fell, everyone gathered back at trucks and drove to the deer-association offices empty-handed and ate venison tacos Mr. Forester made.

Mr. Kennedy on the target range. Photo: Dustin Chambers for The Wall Street Journal

Write to Cameron McWhirter at cameron.mcwhirter@wsj.com and Zusha Elinson at zusha.elinson@wsj.com
 

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LivingTheDream

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Read this last night, was surprised how positive the comments were as well.
 

Hogpatrol

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This is a damn good idea. Like was stated in the article, after 2035 and ALL the boomers are finished hunting, the drop in hunter numbers and license sales will be huge.
 

rinehart0050

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As part of this younger generation of hunters that didn't grow up hunting, I certainly see the appeal in the approach of this program. Getting your meat from a sustainable, natural source rather than a factory seems like a much better way for humans to interact with their environment.
 

meigsbucks

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I literally just got done reading that article before logging on to AH. What a great idea to get new hunters involved.
 

Bullthrower338

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I’m thinking of clipping on my man bun and growing my beard out just to hook up on a free hunt! I need to work on my hipster lingo though! Lol
Really this is a great approach to get these folks involved, otherwise they could go down the anti hunting road.
 

Von S.

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As part of this younger generation of hunters that didn't grow up hunting, I certainly see the appeal in the approach of this program. Getting your meat from a sustainable, natural source rather than a factory seems like a much better way for humans to interact with their environment.
Sure!....ok..

But what if everyone did it and a state couldn't limit the hunt in time? Could a severe over harvest take place that might possibly curtail hunting for some years to come?

I understand that's about as possible as me sprouting ass feathers and fling south for the winter on my own power....but still.
 

cagkt3

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Sure!....ok..

But what if everyone did it and a state couldn't limit the hunt in time? Could a severe over harvest take place that might possibly curtail hunting for some years to come?

I understand that's about as possible as me sprouting ass feathers and fling south for the winter on my own power....but still.
Quick Google search, the Georgia chapter of Field to Fork took out 15 hunters this year. Don't think we have to worry about it.
 

sierraone

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There was a thread here about three years ago about the same general subject, but related to a group in Austin. I am all for them, because we need them.
 

rinehart0050

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Sure!....ok..

But what if everyone did it and a state couldn't limit the hunt in time? Could a severe over harvest take place that might possibly curtail hunting for some years to come?

I understand that's about as possible as me sprouting ass feathers and fling south for the winter on my own power....but still.
I don't know that I understand your concern. The number of new hunters in the USA is declining substantially. As the current hunting population reaches an age where they cant hunt anymore, the total number of hunters will decrease rapidly.

The threat to animals is probably not from over hunting, but rather continued development of habitat into commercial, agricultural, and residential uses.
 

sierraone

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I don't know that I understand your concern. The number of new hunters in the USA is declining substantially. As the current hunting population reaches an age where they cant hunt anymore, the total number of hunters will decrease rapidly.

The threat to animals is probably not from over hunting, but rather continued development of habitat into commercial, agricultural, and residential uses.
Agree 100 percent!
 

Nyati

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A good idea !
 

markferrigno

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I think the biggest threat to Deer seems to be under harvesting. The Deer population in the US has exploded in the last 20-3- years, yet most states treat them as if they are made of gold. They are huge problem yet in a lot of places it is difficult to get a tag or difficult to fill a tag because of massive over-regulation of hunting.
 

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I think the biggest threat to Deer seems to be under harvesting. The Deer population in the US has exploded in the last 20-3- years, yet most states treat them as if they are made of gold. They are huge problem yet in a lot of places it is difficult to get a tag or difficult to fill a tag because of massive over-regulation of hunting.
Waaay too many deer where I hunt. Last day of the season, one cut corn field had 47, across the country road and quarter mile away, 52 in the field. Farmers are BEGGING my gang to kill more of them but with no Sunday hunting, less hunters afield every year, and a lot of them being trophy hunters, the population is exploding. If I had the money to buy non-resident doe tags, I could kill fifty or more a season.
 

LivingTheDream

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Yeah newbies with crossbows are not going to devastate the deer population. Urban hunting is cool especially for newbies. I live in the suburbs and have taken a few new guys archery hunting. It gets them out and it isn't so intense that they are completely out of their element. Also gives them a better appreciate of what we do and the work it takes to be successful.
 

markferrigno

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Waaay too many deer where I hunt. Last day of the season, one cut corn field had 47, across the country road and quarter mile away, 52 in the field. Farmers are BEGGING my gang to kill more of them but with no Sunday hunting, less hunters afield every year, and a lot of them being trophy hunters, the population is exploding. If I had the money to buy non-resident doe tags, I could kill fifty or more a season.
No hunting on Sunday is about the dopiest of the many dopey regulations (the Deer need a day of rest?) Here in Colorado, esp. Colorado Springs we are overrun with Mule Deer. 1 tag per hunter, per year (if you can actually get drawn) regardless of take method. This is about the only state where you can't get an OTC Deer tag. You have a better chance of hitting one with your car than getting a rifle tag (in which you have 7 whole days to hunt)

Colorado is managing tags for revenue, not actual wildlife. People are realizing and getting fed up, esp Non-resident hunters dropping $630 for Elk tags
 

markferrigno

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Bwana Bob

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Of course they will have to hunt with "Artisinal" crossbows cause regular ones would never cut it.
So markferrigno, your reply to this attempt to introduce new younger hunters to the sport is to be sarcastic. Hopefully I'm reading this wrong and you do support this effort. If not, that's sad.
 

Pheroze

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So markferrigno, your reply to this attempt to introduce new younger hunters to the sport is to be sarcastic. Hopefully I'm reading this wrong and you do support this effort. If not, that's sad.
I think it's just a joke.

and the scent of organic beard oil.
Hey, nothing wrong with a good beard oil...just say'n
 
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