The total number of hunters is down, peaking at 16.8 million in 1982. In 2015, there were 15 million hunters. Even though the numbers have declined over the last 30 years, they have remained stable over the last decade.
Hunters make up a declining percent of the population as more and more people move into the more popular urban areas. City folk don’t easily become hunters. The hours it takes them to get through traffic and out of town, the sun will already have set and they’ve missed an afternoon hunt. Instead, the majority of them will hit up the hipster bars downtown drinking craft beer. Hunting is hard life when you live in the city.
So should we care about the decline in hunters? Absolutely we should. We have more women than men in this country and 40 percent of the population are minorities. We need to convert these women and minorities into hunters. All of my hunting partners are all white males and the same is true for the majority of hunting shows. Today’s hunters need to make sure these city folk turn from their anti-hunting mentality.
Anti-hunters need to realize that hunters and anglers foot the bill for most wildlife conservation in this country. In fact, the $100 I just spent for my hunting license will go to conservation in my home state of Kentucky. I’ll also give my excise tax when I buy ammo or fishing tackle.
There has to be a better way to speak to non-hunters. The future of hunting depends on today’s hunters and non-hunters.