The rumors of hunting's demise are exaggerated

Hardly a week passes that I don't see or hear another proclamation on how hunting and trapping (and sometimes even sportfishing) are going the route of the dinosaurs. Just about all of these base their assumptions on the general decline of sporting license sales nationwide. However, basing such conclusions on license figures alone fails to accurately project all the facts involved and also doesn't mean that these activities are neither as needed nor as accepted by the general public as they were in the past.

In the last decade, the number of hunters has declined about 10 percent nationwide. During that same period, the population rose by 5 percent. According to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the number of hunters nationwide has dropped 24 percent, from about 50 million 20 years ago to about 38 million. Wildlife management officials say urbanization, sprawling development and competition for free time have resulted in fewer hunters. And not as many youths are taking up this rite of generation passage that dates back to frontier times, which is leading to an overall aging of the hunting population today.

Historically, people in the United States (and Canada) looked to the land to gather food and provide for their households. Being independent, self-sufficient and hard working, providing for oneís family, while being a steward of the land ó these values and lifestyles are traditionally and distinctly part of the fabric of our society and culture, and despite urban and suburban dependency on third-parties for sustenance, those demographic roots remain present in many areas of the nation today, despite the increased dependency on others for our sustenance.

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