CHENANGO COUNTY – Anyone who has hunted, fished, or trapped for at least the past decade or longer will tell you the demographics of the outdoorsman has changed.
One of the more notable changes is that there are more outdoorswomen than ever before. Female participation in shooting activities is one of the fasted growing areas in the outdoors world. This has forced almost every outdoors company, whether they make firearms, bows, or clothing, to start offering female-focused products.
Another change that isn’t such good news is the average age of outdoor enthusiasts is growing. It may not seem like a big deal because people get older so the average age should get older. However, it is a big deal because you should anticipate new, young people to start participating each year to offset that increase in average age and to replace older participants who either quit participating.
This supports the notion that less youth are participating in outdoor activities than compared to the ‘good old days.’ Some of the more commonly blamed factors for this include parents working more, so they have less time to take kids outdoors – video games or other electronics consume their free time, among others.
It is likely that multiple factors combine to influence a child’s likelihood of participation. While the main focus usually seems to focus on youth because they are the ‘next generation,’ getting adults to start participating in outdoor recreation is also important.
With the rise of the average age of outdoors enthusiasts, there has been the start of programs across the United States in hopes of combating this problem and getting more people to start and continue to engage in outdoor recreation. There has been three major stages identified in the ‘becoming a sportsman’ process; they are recruitment, retention, and reactivation.