The Future of Hunting

young boy huntingWhere do you honestly think the future of this sport is going to lead?

Today’s youth do not seem to be interested in hunting. When I travel back home many make comments on how the highschool boys are not interested in going hunting. I know that I have seen some of the disinterest myself. This can’t play well into the future of hunting or our nation as a whole, in my opinion.

My dad went hunting nearly every day when he was in High School. I went when I could, but that really only worked out to be a couple weekends a year, and I lived in the country. Now, it seems that kids are not even getting out and doing that.

Statistically, they say that women are taking to the sport, and I think we need to encourage it.

With the increase in hunting lodges and the decrease in open private land the sport appears to be headed toward elitism, too, where only the rich will be able to participate. With pressure to increase taxes on firearms and ammo, coupled with the increasing regulations and permitting on hunting and shooting equipment it seems that the trail can only lead to one end. Only the elite or politically privileged will be able to hunt.

However, re-engaging youth in outdoor activities is critical to the future of hunting.

Surveys tell us the the youth are becoming less involved in natural resources-based outdoor activities.

The youth have a variety of other activities these days. Their social network, that one time included hunting and fishing, simply doesn’t exist in the form that it did in that past. People say that we need to face up to the facts that the young people are busy, have money, and have an overwhelming and exhaustive litany of events, electronics and distractions.

We need to do something. We need to have more youth programs teaching skills and build a better sense of outdoor ethics.

We could create programs in the schools, in the parks, in the clubs and in the lives in a way that really connects with the youth of today. And we need to do this for the future of hunting.

As the keynote speaker at the National Wild Turkey Federation’s annual convention, U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia told attendees that the best thing sportsmen and hunters can do for hunting is to refute the fallacious stereotype that guns are used only for evil purposes.

An avid hunter himself, Judge Scalia told the assembled group, “The attitude of people associating guns with nothing but crime, that is what has to be changed. I grew up at a time when people were not afraid of people with firearms. I hope [the hunting culture] can be preserved & the hunting culture, of course, begins with a culture that does not have a hostile attitude toward firearms.”

Top Hunting and Shooting Equipment Brands

FERNANDINA BEACH, Fla.- Southwick Associates has announced the brands hunters and shooters purchased most frequently in 2010. This list has been compiled from the 41,923 internet-based surveys completed by hunters and target shooters who volunteered to participate last year in and polls. In 2010, top brands included

The marketing data presented here is a summary of a 238-page report that details consumer behavior including what products and brands are purchased, where they are bought, how much customers spend, and demographics of hunters and shooters broken out by each product category. Current information about what gear and brands hunters and shooters prefer, how many days they spend afield and what type of hunting and shooting they enjoy most is vital to businesses trying to build their customer base.

best huntinggear

Talking about hunting footwear, Rangermade has made a nice selection of the hunting boots that are trending now. You can find them for a number of categories, whether for upland, marsh, desert, warm weather or winter conditions. The link is here: As for other gear, they’re also sporting other selections such as archery products, rangefinders, optics, the top plier tools, and much more.

You can stay abreast of consumer buying patterns and overall market trends by purchasing an annual subscription to Southwick Associates’ monthly, and reports. Reports are available for specific product categories including firearms, ammunition, blackpowder, bowhunting and archery equipment, decoys, game calls, apparel, optics and more.

Never Thought It Could Happen

Pennsylvania’s senior-citizen sportsmen who hunted in the 1960s era continue to be in a “culture” shock. In these early days afield, not even in their wildest dreams could veteran outdoorsmen have visualized the present day season and bag limits, new regulations, and the varied hunting opportunities it would be possible to enjoy The 2014-2015 PGC seasons and bag limits have now received final approval from the Board of Commissioners. Most of the modifications were expected by the Keystone State sportsmen.

This fall, successful lottery winners will be able to harvest a Pennsylvania elk. The last elk season in the Keystone State was in 1931. Many sportsmen can well remember 1978 when the elk count had dropped to 38 animals. It was thought the herd was finished. However, thanks to an aggressive wildlife management program, the number of elk now stands at about 700.

That’s too many of these animals for the available range and PGC officials have decided to go forward with a modest harvest. For a $10 non-refundable fee, sportsmen will be able to enter an elk lottery. Information is available on the PGC website at The elk hunt has been scheduled for November 12-17, with other dates available if the harvest quota is not met.

The bobcat lottery system will be in effect for the second year. The game commission will establish the number of tags to be allocated at a later date. Last year’s goal of 175 animals was not met. Hunters and trappers harvested only 58 bobcats. It’s interesting to note that in 2000, 119 bobcats were killed on the state’s highways.

The whitetail deer rightfully enjoys the distinction of being Pennsylvania’s official state animal. The one million license buyers in this state have more interest in deer than any other animal. In 1961, there was a short archery season and a two-week buck season. There was also a three-day doe season with only limited permits available. That year, 38,776 bucks and 17,327 does were killed, for a total of 56,103 deer.

Last year, there were 830, 650 antlerless deer licenses allocated and slightly more than 301,000 does were tagged. During the fall 2001 season, PGC biologists expect to harvest 350,000 female deer. In the 2000 season, close to 200,000 bucks were taken in the combined seasons.

During the 1960s era, a sportsman could take one deer per year. If he tagged a buck and he was fortunate enough to have obtained a doe permit, that tag was forfeited. Now, in most counties, it’s possible to kill an antlered deer and two antlerless deer. In special-designated counties, it’s possible to kill more than three deer. Combining all the available deer seasons, whitetail enthusiasts are now able to spend 75 hunting days afield.


Perhaps the most significant change in the upcoming year’s hunting regulations include the fact that during the entire two-week buck season, hunters with the appropriate antlerless permit will be able to take a doe. The any-deer concept is foreign to Keystone State sportsmen. The week-long muzzleloader season in October for doe will make the state’s black powder fraternity happy. It will also induce more deer enthusiasts to take up the muzzleloader sport. Junior, seniors, disabled persons and active duty military personnel will also enjoy a three-day October hunt. That’s sure to increase the antlerless harvest. The conservation agency has gone on record saying they want to increase the antlerless harvest from 301,000 to 350,000 or about a 16 percent boost. Veteran sportsmen believe that with all the liberal regulations, this figure could go higher. Several sportsmen organizations and at least one powerful legislator have voiced their disapproval of the changes. Another change is that this year the second or bonus doe license is not required to be used on private property. Many sportsmen believed that to be a working concept to reduce the deer population in areas where there were many complaints.

Beaver trapping has also undergone a major transition. In 1959, the beaver season was from February 15 to March 21. Five beavers could be trapped and the trapping area was restricted to 42 counties. Trappers were allowed to set only 10 traps at any one time. What a difference 42 years has made. This year the trappers can do their thing from December 26 through March 11. In some prime areas, they can trap 20 beavers day and 40 throughout the season. In other areas 20 is the season limit. Only six may be harvested in Zone 6. During the last five years, the annual beaver take has averaged more than 9000. In 1958, 2,420 beavers were trapped.

The expanding turkey population is yet another Pennsylvania phenomenon. In 1965, conservation officers estimated the turkey kill to be 15,000. The fall season was two weeks in length and there was no spring gobbler season. While the results of the 2000 season are not yet available, in 1999 spring hunters killed 37,808 gobblers and fall hunters tagged another 40,721 turkey for a total of 78,529.

It took 131 years, but man-made turkey blinds are now legal in Pennsylvania. It was 1869 when it became unlawful to use a blind to hunt turkeys. This year, the use of an artificial blind again became legal.

This fall, Pennsylvania sportsmen can hunt bear from November 19-21. In 1968, hunters bagged 218 bears in a week-long season. Last year, in a three-day period, Keystone State sportsmen bagged 3,075 bruins.

Occasionally, we hear sportsmen talking “about the good old days.” Perhaps if they take a few minutes to compare our present day hunting opportunities with those earlier-day harvest figures, length of seasons and bag limits, they would quickly realize that, “hunting isn’t the same as before, it’s much better!”


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