Technology helps quite a bit in imagining the hunting community being very large. Of course, it’s big enough for the folks that are a part of it to spend an estimated $80 billion this year for goods and services that allow them to partake in it.
But the community of hunters often seems small to me when I’m introduced to new people in a professional setting. I travel quite a bit and I’m fortunate that I get to meet a lot of people during those trips. It’s something I enjoy. But earmarking $1 for each hunter I’ve encountered while traveling for business during my decade-plus professional career, wouldn’t get you enough money to buy ammo for next duck season.
That scares me.
I’m both proud and thankful that I have never backed down to the backdrop of politically correctness and have never had an issue sharing with people who ask that hunting is my favorite past time. Once in a while that draws a puzzled or fretted brow, but by and large most folks are somewhat fascinated by learning more about hunting as a sport. (Note: My colleagues often give the ol’ “Here we go” look when the “What do you do in your spare time?” question is posed on trips. They know what’s coming.).
My fear is not rooted in sharing my gospel. Rather, it’s concern about the continued lack of hunters in our young generation. That reality brings with it very few good things. Those of you who might look at that fact as an opportunity to improve your chances of success afield should instead wonder if it provides greater risk to the elimination of your opportunity to hunt at all.
Budgets will shrink. Support will be reduced and the sheer strength in numbers that we’re still afforded as outdoorsmen for having a voice, is being weakened by the day.
If you hunt, and you enjoy it, don’t be afraid to share why to all who you encounter. And if you can, find the time to introduce someone new to the sport we all share and love. Imagine, if you will, how many new hunters we could introduce to this amazing sport if we all committed to introducing two new kids this year. And another two next year … it would be a wonderful thing for the sport, and for the kids you’re showing it to.