It's Time to Recruit More Hunters

It's Time to Recruit More Hunters

For hunters, September is the start of our season. The kickoff month to the big show. Of course, there is likely something to hunt somewhere year-round, but

September, for many, marks the real start of the season.

This is especially true for western hunters where elk, bear, antelope, and deer all open up essentially at the same time, making for one hectic month!

best-guns-for-youth-hunters


In the September issue we try to cover the highs (and lows) of the various species in our annual forecast — something we have done for years, giving hunters the straight scoop on what to expect in the coming season.


The good news is that big-game numbers are on the upswing, and as long as crooked politicians don't succeed in "transferring" federal lands to vocal, disgruntled states (disposing of your hunting lands for good), opportunities for DIY hunters on public lands will still be good in 2016.

Stagnation

All that said, we are still seeing stagnation in numbers of hunters. While the last USFW survey showed a slight uptick in license sales, overall the number of hunters hasn't changed very much. Why is this? The answer depends upon whom you ask.

It's lack of opportunity, shifting demographics to a more urban society, a societal pressure against hunting, the high cost to get involved. I'm sure all these answers have validity, but I believe it is much simpler than that. I believe some of the decline is due to laws and regulations being so complicated that most new hunters, youth or adult, have no idea where to begin.


We recently received a letter (published in this issue) asking, "How can one start hunting?" Unfortunately, the answer is not simple: find a local Hunter Education class, sign up for it months in advance, attend several hours of courses, take a test, then go out and buy a license.

That's just to get started.

Where to hunt, how to hunt, how to find public land, how to clean an animal if one is successful, etc., are such complicated topics that I can't imagine jumping into the sport if I didn't have a father to show me the ropes. This all comes back to mentoring — something that is required if we are going to get new hunters involved in the sport.


Mentoring

Luckily, some states have recognized this problem and have actually implemented programs to simplify the process. Fully 35 states have passed legislation or currently offer some sort of mentored hunting program where first-time hunters can delay going through Hunters Ed. provided they are hunting with a licensed hunter.


"To do your part this season, make it a point to find a new hunter and take them out. It is good for the future of our sport, it is necessary for the new hunter€¦"


Essentially, it is a "try before you buy" system that reduces the barriers to entry. Much of the thanks for this push can be attributed to the Families Afield program — a joint partnership between NSSF, National Wild Turkey Federation, and the Sportsmen's Alliance that was started in 2004 and to date has brought over one million first-time hunters into the sport.

Some states have taken this mentoring program even further to encourage first-timers to get involved.

Take Idaho, for example: Of all the states that have actually set up some sort of a hunter mentor program, Idaho, in my opinion, has set the gold standard with its Hunting Passport program. In a nutshell, any first-time hunter (over eight years of age) from any state who has never had a hunting license qualifies for it.

You can buy a license for only $1.75 (and tags for non-resident youth can be obtained at resident youth pricing), without any Hunter Education course, with no maximum age (meaning first-time adults are encouraged to participate) as long as you are hunting with a mentor.

new-hunter-recruitment

This is actually putting boots on the ground and getting people involved in our sport, while at the same time teaching the necessary skills required

to be successful when they go on their own.

This program gets people into hunting easily, learning the ropes firsthand from an experienced hunter. If the newbies like the sport, they can then take Hunter Education, buy a license, and head out on their own.

I can't think of a better program to help bolster our ranks, and more states should adopt a similar system. To do your part this season, make it a point to find a new hunter and take them out. It is good for the future of our sport, it is necessary for the new hunter, and more likely than not, it will be enjoyable for you as well.

GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.

Recommended Articles

See More Recommendations

Popular Videos

Sighting In the CZ .557 Carbine

Sighting In the CZ .557 Carbine

Kevin Steele sights in his CZ .557 carbine rifle that he plans to use on a Colorado elk hunt.

Moon Phase Rut Tips

Moon Phase Rut Tips

John Dudley, technical writer and host of Nock On TV discusses why it's imporant to follow moon phases for the rut.

Is That a Grizzly Bear?

Is That a Grizzly Bear?

Kevin Steele and Jason Morton are above the Arctic Circle pursuing grizzly bears in Alaska and put a stalk on what they believe is a good one.

Top Ten Hunts

Top Ten Hunts

Here at Petersen's Hunting we have compiled the 10 best hunts caught on camera from the last 2 years of Petersen's Hunting TV. Enjoy!

See More Popular Videos

Trending Articles

If you're spending time in the outdoors where you might encounter bears, carry one of these guns. Survival

Which Firearm Is Best for Bear Defense?

Larry Case - July 11, 2018

If you're spending time in the outdoors where you might encounter bears, carry one of these...

Practice under pressure with these high-intensity drills. How-To

4 Shooting Drills to Make You a Better Hunter

Jeff Johnston

Practice under pressure with these high-intensity drills.

Stay safe, and sane, when face troubles overseas. How-To

How to Avoid Travel Problems on International Hunting Trips

Craig Boddington

Stay safe, and sane, when face troubles overseas.

These are our favorite new products of the year for the archery crowd. Bowhunting

Best New Bowhunting Gear for 2020

Petersen's Hunting Editors - May 21, 2020

These are our favorite new products of the year for the archery crowd.

See More Trending Articles

More Stories

Go Long While hunting skill is paramount to the sport 'in order to gain a shot opportunity in the Stories

Versus: Is Long-Range Hunting Ethical?

Joseph von Benedikt & Mike Schoby - October 14, 2014

Go Long While hunting skill is paramount to the sport 'in order to gain a shot opportunity in...

Stories

I Went Hunting With a Girl

David Faubion - July 30, 2016

"It won't be easy," I told her. "In fact, you'll be cold, hot, tired, dirty and sweaty. Your

Dream of a job in the hunting industry? Here's the inside scoop on some of the most coveted positions in the outdoors. Stories

17 Dream Jobs in the Outdoor Industry

Kali Parmley

Dream of a job in the hunting industry? Here's the inside scoop on some of the most coveted...

What is the biggest driver of anti-hunting propaganda in recent years? HSUS? PETA? WWF? All good Stories

Protecting Our Image in the Digital Age

Mike Schoby - July 01, 2016

What is the biggest driver of anti-hunting propaganda in recent years? HSUS? PETA? WWF? All...

See More Stories

GET THE MAGAZINE Subscribe & Save.

Digital Now Included!

SUBSCRIBE NOW

Give a Gift   |   Subscriber Services

PREVIEW THIS MONTH'S ISSUE

GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.

Get Digital Access.

All Petersen's Hunting subscribers now have digital access to their magazine content. This means you have the option to read your magazine on most popular phones and tablets.

To get started, click the link below to visit mymagnow.com and learn how to access your digital magazine.

Get Digital Access

Not a Subscriber?
Subscribe Now