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July 27, 2007

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Discussion Topic: How Do You Promote Hunting?

Preliminary data from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s 2006 National Survey of Fishing, Hunting, and Wildlife Associated Recreation has put numbers to a trend most of us were already well aware of: hunting and fishing participation is down. Recently some 300 representatives from 23 states and four Canadian provinces met in Flagstaff, AZ, to discuss the issue at the Western Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies.

From The Republic:

Some of the reasons discussed at the meeting were complex rules and regulations, reduced hunting opportunities, age restrictions, a lack of encouragement or help for older hunters, increasing urbanization of the population, rising license and permit costs, difficult access to recreational lands and a perception that hunting and fishing is cruel and inhumane.

"We try to placate the public by becoming invisible," [National Wild Turkey Federation CEO Rob] Keck told the group.

"And hunters are passive as to why they hunt. We are terrible at selling the product we have. We need to sell the sizzle of hunting and conservation."

Do you agree with Keck? How should we go about selling the sizzle?

Comments

Joshua

He is right we need to be proud and loud about what we do and stop hiding like we do something wrong. Get involved and help youngsters get involved. We all like to take kids fishing, do the same with hunting. Also get rid of antler restrictions for youngsters (under 12) it helps to get them interested in hunting if they don't have to "pass" on the deer they see.

Fight for your rights and for god sake lets stop fighting with each other and start fighting the animal rights whacko’s who think we are cruel and crazy for filling our niche in the ecosystem.

Brian

Somehow, curiosity about the wilderness is being stifled, television has not helped one darn bit. Of course, access is difficult, downright tedious, from big city starting points. By contrast, people in small towns and villages take advantage of the more immediate access. I can get to our "pantry" prime hunting area in 20 minutes. Still, I'm tired of having offers returned with blank stares. I'm tired of being put on the defensive by the dirt-eating, tree-hugging greenies who are slavering for their next Tofudebeast. Want organic? Go hunting.
I took each of my daughters with me when they turned 2 yrs old. I admit I can't get far with a 2-yr old carrying a glass of milk but that wasn't the point. They go now, to indulge the old man, it's a social occasion but no real serious interest. Where did that go?

suburban bushwacker

Some ideas for selling hunting to an unreceptive public

We see the pictures of the suffering of uncontrolled deer populations, the public never do.

The farmers markets are starting to sell a lot of pigeon and rabbit to a public disillusioned with supermarket meat.

ADVENTURE!! when was the last time you saw hunting as an adventure?
Not an adventure where rich old guys with mega bucks hunt mega bucks, but a ‘you can do it too’ adventure.

Having a token ‘goddess of the hunt’ section with a few recipes just ain’t going to do it.

Jason

There are alot of problems with selling hunting. You have already mentioned the perception of it being inhumane. I feel that you have have missed that it is looked at as a bit redneck. It is no longer veiwed as a refined leisure time. Nascar was able to turn that perception for a bit and it paid off for them big.

My second point is that unless you grew up hunting. It is very hard to break into. Information on those just starting to hunt is generously described as minimal and generally directed at new female hunters and kids.


Trae B.

down where i live everyone who has huge deer racks and mounts have all paid big bucks to kills them i hate that they dont even like the meat i usually take it so it dosent waste.i hunt for meat not racks although im not going to lie i will shoot a huge buck before a doe but i'll eat every bit of it

Evan Vaeth

The less fisherman, the better for other fisherman. More open water and less pressure on fish.

Evan Vaeth
paul Wilke

I've got two thoughts;
Proudly declare that you are a hunter or fisherman.
Do that by joining an (many) organization that promotes your sport and display their stickers (get a lot of them) wherever you can. carry this a step further and wear a tie clip and/or lapel or hat pin that proclaims your sport as often as possible. A trophy on the wall is fine but wear a small bragging pin on your person whenever you go out, and be ready to discuss your sport at any time with anyone that displays interest.
Invite someone to hunting or fishing camp whenever you can. You might have to change your plans to include a lot of in camp time, but you might introduce a new partner to the sport.
I have a small bass,trout,pheasant and white tail lapel pin. Several t-shirts that proclaim that I'm a hunter, fisherman shooter or camper.
Everyone knows what I do,I even wear a nail to show my interest in carpentry and woodworking.
Lots of conversations ensue.


Dennis

I dont know, when I was growing up my parents had to discipline me to get me back in the house when it got dark outside. My dad took me places outdoors, fishing, hunting ect. Many parents now seemingly have to discipline their kids to get them out of the house. It comes down to what the parents interests are and what they want for their own kids. Here in Ohio it seems as though less and less land exists that isn't privatly owned anymore and that makes it difficult to get out there. Bummer

Ben

Those are some pretty good ideas paul, we also need to the selling of shirts that portray us as rednecks. ITs sad when some of our own sportsmen disgrace the sport with the tacky shirts. Pins and lapels are classy and show a bit of pride.

Matt

I like to think that blogging about the outdoors help. Maybe it's wishful thinking, but we're doing what we can.

Nick

i think it is that peaple who hunt have children who get cought in the twenty first century and find that they rather not go hunting or fishing . And that the prices of geting the gear and the liesens are to much in price that they have no choice to just not buy.

jonny

paying for licsenses helps

Tommy

Access is a huge issue. The idea that gameland is unsafe doesn't help either, especially since it is not safe. Two years ago I was nearly shot in Wake County on public land. I never saw the guy and do not know if it was a case of mistaken identity or if the person just thought I was ''ruining his hunt'' on public land.

This arrogant attitude comes out all the time. EX. Someone thinks a dog ruins their hunt so they shoot their neighbors dog. This happens all the time and we have the audacity to wonder why people are turned off to hunting. HOW WOULD YOU FEEL?

Hunters and fisherman are also very secretive about there tactics; this gets new hunters discouraged easily when they spend loads of money on gear, licenses, etc., go into the woods a few times and don't see anything. Of course some people will say, its not supposed to be easy you idiot. I am not saying it should be - but we are looking for reasons right?

Also every magazine and tv show about hunting show guys shooting ''big bucks'' that look like they are on steroids. This makes people feel inadequate when all they see after years of hunting are little basket racked four and six pointers. Not everyone lives in Illinois, Iowa or Texas, nor do most people have hundreds of acres of land to practice QDM.

Also I think many people are sickened by many tactics used in taking animals - and as a result they are turned off. Not to get into these tactics, but again we are looking for reasons - correct?

Furthermore, there is an underlying current of one-upsmanship that is totally needless. Everyone has there own ideas of what is right and wrong - among hunters with some experience this is ok - it can even be a good thing for people to debate/argue ethics involved in hunting - thats how this country works. We debate - then we legislate. But when we act superior to a newcomer to hunting or fishing all we do is push them away when we should be HELPING THEM to see how good they can be at hunting to keep them interested.

Try letting someone hunt or fish your ''honey hole'' if you really want more people hunting or fishing.

Also the shows on tv that depict animals taken every time out, and huge racked animals at that, are misleading the public and create false ideas of what true hunting success is.

Also the idea that we should respect what we take/harvest/kill is nearly gone. When you have photographs of people jousting with a freshly killed animal's headgear or high fives when an animal is screaming in agony, in every hunting mag and tv show, there will always be people that you totally turn off forever. And spare me the bit about how hard it was and the high fives are relief, its bad publicity. Be proud of your harvest/kill, but keep your grade school celebrations off camera.

Its degrading and unappealing to the general public we are either trying to recruit or keep off our backs.

suburban bushwacker

Tommy: best comment posted in a long time.

Tommy

Suburban Bushwacker,

Thank you for your positive words.
I have read your post and totally agree with you as well. Especially concerning the part about showing the public the issues of excessive does and the suffering of starving and diseased deer. I think, all too often, hunters point out vehicle collisions, as reasons to control deer populations. That is a bit weak because we are the root cause of that. We take their bedding/eating/mating territory and then complain about vehicle collisions? It leaves room for argument.

However, when we show them that too many does means too many late-born fawns, and that leads to starvation which leads to death and disease; we are showing them something of substance instead of a weak excuse.

MORE PUBLICATIONS ON LATE BORN FAWNS IS ABSOLUTELY IN DYER NEED!

Kristine Shreve

Tommy,

Terrific post. You said a lot of the same things I've been saying.

I'm a big stickler for image management. There are small things hunters can do, many of which have been mentioned here, which can help improve the image a lot of people have of hunting. I also think education is key. Uninformed people are often scared by things they don't understand. If hunters take the time to educate people in a patient way, hunting could see a lot more converts. I also think male hunters have to be more open and accepting of females who hunt.

I also think getting more people writing about being outdoors can help. We're working on putting together the Outdoor Bloggers Summmit, which will unite people who write about the outdoors and hopefully make it a little easier to educate people.

Tommy

Kristine,

Thank you for your kind and encouraging words. I hope your summit will be a great success as you are obviously the type of person we need speaking out for hunting. Rather than those who think they can scream loud enough to make a difference.

As far as women and hunting. I have some experience in this arena.
I try to get my wife and daughter into the woods alot, and they just aren't interested. I have tried all the suggested methods such as focusing on having fun instead of really hunting. I have tried still hunting, stalking, making a picnic of it, and even staying only a short time to prevent boredom. They really don't even enjoy fishing and we have a brand new boat! Even when the fish are biting and there are drinks and snacks in the cooler! They will go - to humor me, but they would rather be at a pool with friends or at a movie.

They just have different interests.

I have a theory on why this is so.

When boys are young, they tend to be in the woods, they like the creeks, the fields, the deep forests where they feel like explorers. Boys want to emmulate their fathers and admired male role models. It is inherent.

Now to the girls; please take no offense and I realize this may sound like a stereotype, but girls seem to prefer to stay indoors, they like talking with their friends, and playing with toys or dolls more than boys. Young girls want to emmulate their mothers or admired female role models.

Our society is changing slowly; since we have put equal rights laws on the books. But real change takes time - years and decades of altered behavior. As women are more and more independent, as they get MORE RESPECT FROM EGOTISTICAL MEN, and parents raise their children during these times, children will choose to do different things. Young girls will see thier mothers as equal to their fathers, and that will translate into more boys and girls participating in the same things; which will pose different issues at certain ages.

I am proud that my daughter is a straight A student, we have taught her to share and she actually loves basketball, and at 10 this past season she played on her first organized team. She may never hunt, but she WILL BE INDEPENDENT AND STRONG EITHER WAY.

I love her and will love her whatever her hobbies may be. And I would caution those that think they can change years upon years of behavior our society dictates in an instant to push THEIR interests to the forefront.

That would be bad parenting.

Let your children choose their hobbies and they will end up doing what THEY truly love in life.
After all - thats the point - Right?

Brian

Tommy: you're right. I raised two daughters to be bright, healthy contributors to society. Within family, I think hunting is best promoted by true partnership. Yes, they went out hunting and fishing with me. I, in my turn, worked backstage for their ballet recitals for more than 10 years.
I have to respect them as individuals with self-determination. At the end of the day, they must decide what they want to do and pursue. Neither of them hunt or fish, but it doesn't seem to be connected to success (or lack thereof) in the field or on the water. On the lighter side, I was roundly scolded for having shrimp races on the kitchen floor.

David Ramirez

I agree with Tommy and Bushwacker. its a lil tuff for a newcomer who isnt a FEMALE or a KID! as a young man (24 yrs). you're pretty much left out there on your own aye! we dont get the help that the ladies and little ones doe and sometimes we even get a lil "shutout" by other hunters. ive seen broads and kids ask men in the outdoor store lil questions and they turn and answer pleasantly. HOwever wheni ask guys questions i get like a 6 word sentence before they turn away. i read and read all i can and ask epmployees who work at the outdoor stores for questions i need answered cause my fellow hunters dont. the information out there for us is really lightweight like Tommy said. i go out there on my own like man but it would be nice if bringing new hunters in the sport didnt mean just wifes and children. i mean i got alotta question bout the different Zones we have here in Northern Cali and the reservations applicationa dn all the other technical things you need to do to go hunting thats a lil difficult to fully grasp n get the hang on. Like i said before, i read, read everything i need to know!theres also a lot of little question bout rifles and bows that i dont know, you know just simple things that im curious bout. thank the good lord for the internet forums to help with the little questions. Hunters seem to be alot more helpful online. Wish me luck in my life long journey in hunting and fishing aye! i may be arriving purdy late but at least i showed up!! if any of yall wanna help a homeboy out here in Northern California get his feet wet feel free to email me,shoot. i love my country and like hearing bout wildlife and other things happening round it. lotta States, lotta critters, man! [email protected]

Duflopp

I have a bone to pick with this issue. I work up at the Subase in Groton ct. For one even if you were interested as a new comer you need to find some were to hunt. All of you there in the big states that may not be a problem but up here in ct it is really hard to find land for some one start out on. Yeah there is a huge deer and turkey population here but all you really have is state land to hunt. So if you don't get your quarry with in the first couple of days of opening day then you are probably out of luck. So a new comer comes along wants to try it. His first season doesn't see anything or maybe a flash of white here and there. And by the end of the season he tired disappointed and at total dismay. So what are his next steps either say hell with it and never do it again or drive down to PA and do a high fence hunt. Which for us hunter that enjoy sitting out in the woods in the bitter cold heavy rains and white outs, it just continues to give us a bad rep.

Every day that I get a chance to introduce hunting to someone new here in CT I do. I even guarantee an open chance at a deer. But about 1 out of every 50 I talk to actually take me up one it because it is such hard work, time consuming and expensive to start off. Me I am a bow hunter at the age of 25 I put my guns down about 6 yrs ago because it lacked the challenge I wanted. I had a young sailor last yr that has never touched a bow in his life take me up on my challenge. I set him up with one of my old bows and got him into a safety course about 3 months before opening day. This young adult from LA in 3 months put so much effort into it, out there shooting everyday reading every thing he could get his eyes on. And like I promised come opening day he got his shot at a nice 8 pointer dressed out at 195. Now I get a phone call from him about once a week telling me he found a new area or asking me when are going to put out are stands.

So now that I have told this story what is the point? Well I here a lot about what are the fish and wild life or NRA going to do about it. I say it’s not about them pushing the issue it is about every one of us. So you have this great spot picked out for this season. Then put a stand in it and let that buddy of yours who has never hunted before sit up there. And if he does get that big buck you had your eyes on then he deserves a pat on the back and so want you because you just opened up a new world to him.

Every one talks about liberals, how they are such prudes and they think they know everything. Well gee that describe the averaged hunter. Hunters are so uptight about there ways they don’t want to be bothered with other people (new comers) they don’t want to give up there land or there experiences for the good of the sport(s).

David Ramirez

well state Duflopp, well stated. The Hard work and commitment pays off. Not always in rewards that one can hold in his hands, but rewards none the less. It is hard work prepping to start out. Here in Northern California we have somewhat decent amount of public land but it's usually a good drive. Of course the best is always private. Cali is a large state (3rd largest) so my drive is probably the same if not longer than yours outta state! I go the distance and our woods are mountain woods. Either our steep Coastal ranges or our Sierra ranges. I see the rolling hills of woods in this magazine of other states in contrast to the steep Redwood and Piney cliff mountains of Northern California. But I get to it! Their my woods and I'm gonna know em! And don't get me started on access and land issues. I livein what is dubbed "Americas Breadbasket" cause most of the food here and shipped overseas comes from the Central Valley of NOrthern Cali. I constantly see Americas farming mecca being paved over and our foothills being made into McMansions!




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