Explore The NRA Universe Of Websites

APPEARS IN Hunting

Chris W. Cox's Political Report: Hunting Heritage

Wednesday, February 1, 2006

POLITICAL REPORT

CHRIS COX, NRA-ILA Executive Director

Those of us who know the magic of a day afield understand that simple exposure of youngsters to our hunting heritage can overcome competing interests and cultural pressures in a single outing. But in many states, the most insurmountable obstacle to recruiting a new hunter is not our culture or society—it is our government.

verybody is doing it. The military, law enforcement and federal government are all doing it. So are professional sports franchises, and corporations big and small. NRA has done it for years.

They’re all recruiting. All of these organizations understand that inevitable attrition in their ranks can only be addressed by bringing new recruits into the fold. Attrition comes from many sources—death, disability or disinterest. But the only answer to its erosive influence is constant, successful recruitment.

There’s one group of Americans who haven’t been doing it as well as we should be. That group is America’s hunters, and that’s why NRA created Free Hunters.

HSUS has never opposed children learning to shoot people and steal cars from video games, yet opposes hunting.

Here’s the math, from a new report entitled “Families Afield,” compiled by the National Shooting Sports Foundation and others. Of the national population age

16 years and older, 6.15 percent of us are hunters. Of the national population age 6 to 15, only 4.23 percent are hunters. The resulting “hunter replacement” ratio is .69, meaning that for every 100 hunters that we lose through attrition, only 69 new hunters step up to take their place.

We face a growing list of obstacles, to be sure. In 1950, 36 percent of our population lived in a rural area. In 2000, that number had dropped to 22 percent. You can’t hunt very easily in a suburban development or strip mall.

Our culture has changed dramatically in the past 15 years as well. Far too many of today’s teenagers find their source of entertainment from a cell phone, a dvd player, 900 channels of television or unfettered access to video games and the no-boundaries world of the Internet. Some researchers believe that constant saturation in these forms of high-level sensory input actually changes the wiring of a growing youth’s mind. There’s little question that it reduces attention span by providing immediate and proximate sources of instant gratification.

Still, those of us who know the magic of the hunt, and the far more substantial gratification that comes from a successful day afield, understand that simple exposure to our hunting heritage can overcome these competing influences in a single outing. But in many states, the final and most insurmountable obstacle to recruiting a new hunter is not our culture or society—it is our government.

The “Families Afield” report identifies 20 states that have “very restrictive” laws that prohibit introducing youth to all or most forms of hunting until age 12 or later. An additional 13 states are “somewhat restrictive” and prohibit introducing youth to all or most forms of hunting until they have met stringent hunter education requirements. The 17 states making up the “least restrictive” category permit introducing youth to hunting largely at their parents’ discretion. In these states, youth may experience restricted hunting under supervision before meeting hunter education requirements.

This is not a condemnation of hunter education—far from it. But the decision about when and whether to introduce youth to hunting under restriction in a supervised setting really belongs with parents—not government. If parents do not have this opportunity before their children fall under the spell of media saturation, they may never have it at all.

It comes as no surprise that the major opponents of youth hunting are the anti-hunting groups. Several recent media accounts of youth hunting achievement have flushed their opposition into the open. In Arizona, a 13-year-old girl shot a 420-pound elk, the biggest of any bagged by 250 youth hunters in a camping program. In Maryland, an 8-year-old girl killed the first black bear of the season, a hefty 211-pound animal that required two shots from her .243 at 50 yards. Her first outing, incidentally, came at the ripe old age of one month, when her father carried her along on a raccoon hunt. The anti-hunting extremists at the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) were apoplectic. HSUS announced a national campaign, pushing to set the age of 16 as the minimum age for any kind of hunting activity. They are painting the campaign as a safety issue, drawing a parallel between hunting and the minimum age for a driver’s license.

But there is no comparison between supervised hunting and a license to operate a vehicle alone. And there is no real safety argument—supervised youth hunters are the safest of all hunters, according to the statistics.

The truth behind their rhetoric is based far more deeply in their belief that “a humane world will not include hunting of any kind,” as an HSUS spokeswoman recently confessed on CNN. Their campaign is a cynical effort to insulate youth from our hunting heritage—and dry up the pool of potential recruits.

HSUS has never opposed children learning to shoot people and steal cars from video games, yet opposes hunting because, “killing for fun teaches callousness, disrespect for life and the notion that might makes right.” I think they have strange priorities.

We’re fighting back. Right now in Ohio, Mississippi and Michigan, we are supporting legislation to remove artificial barriers that restrict youth introduction to hunting. And that’s just the beginning of a national effort on our part to make sure that our footprints afield do not fade into history, but are followed by a new generation.

IN THIS ARTICLE
Hunting/Conservation
TRENDING NOW
Washington: Attorney General Introduces Additional Gun Ban Legislation

Saturday, January 19, 2019

Washington: Attorney General Introduces Additional Gun Ban Legislation

Just months after pushing for the passage of Initiative 1639 to impose severe regulations on purchasing and possessing semi-automatic firearms, Attorney General Bob Ferguson has now introduced legislation that would outright ban commonly owned semi-automatic ...

Keep Telling Your Members of Congress to Oppose “Universal” Background Check Bills

News  

Friday, January 18, 2019

Keep Telling Your Members of Congress to Oppose “Universal” Background Check Bills

On January 8, two bills were introduced in Congress to impose so-called "universal" background checks. The bills, H.R. 8 and S. 42, are being misleadingly described as simply requiring background checks on all sales of firearms, but this is ...

Law for Thee But Not for Me: Pittsburgh Officials Defy DA’s Legal Advice in Gun Control Push

News  

Friday, January 18, 2019

Law for Thee But Not for Me: Pittsburgh Officials Defy DA’s Legal Advice in Gun Control Push

Pittsburgh City Council member Corey O’Connor wants local residents to relinquish important aspects of their Second Amendment rights. If they refuse, he would have it cost them their liberty and treasure. But O’Connor himself apparently ...

Who Are the Real Extremists?

News  

Friday, January 18, 2019

Who Are the Real Extremists?

NRA is often vilified by the gun-ban community and its supporters in the mainstream, legacy media as an “extremist” organization because of its steadfast defense of our Right to Keep and Bear Arms. A simple ...

New Mexico: Governor Lujan Grisham Highlights Gun Control In Opening Day Speech

Thursday, January 17, 2019

New Mexico: Governor Lujan Grisham Highlights Gun Control In Opening Day Speech

In her opening day speech to state lawmakers, New Mexico Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham called on them to pass various gun control proposals that she supported on the campaign trail and which have been filed in the ...

Now With More Banning! Dianne Feinstein Introduces “Updated” Federal “Assault Weapons” Ban (S. 66)

News  

Friday, January 11, 2019

Now With More Banning! Dianne Feinstein Introduces “Updated” Federal “Assault Weapons” Ban (S. 66)

On Wednesday, longtime gun control extremist Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) introduced the latest version of her perennial bid to rid America of its most popular types of rifles, as well as the standard capacity magazines that ...

Washington: Committee Hearings Scheduled on Anti-Gun Bills

Wednesday, January 16, 2019

Washington: Committee Hearings Scheduled on Anti-Gun Bills

Anti-gun bills will be heard on January 21st at 10:00AM by the Washington state Senate Committee on Law & Justice and by the House Committee on Civil Rights & Judiciary on January 22nd at 10:00AM.

Illinois: Gov. Pritzker Signs Firearm Registration & Dealer Licensing Bill

Thursday, January 17, 2019

Illinois: Gov. Pritzker Signs Firearm Registration & Dealer Licensing Bill

Today, Governor J.B. Pritzker signed Senate Bill 337 into law.  Passed by the previous legislature in 2018, SB 337 will establish a firearm registry and shut down your local gun stores with government red tape.  Senate ...

Wisconsin: Governor Evers Starts Session with Gun Control Push

Monday, January 14, 2019

Wisconsin: Governor Evers Starts Session with Gun Control Push

With the 2019 Wisconsin Legislative Session convened, Governor Tony Evers and Attorney General Josh Kaul are already working with legislators to pass sweeping gun control.

Virginia: Bills Defeated in Committee

Friday, January 18, 2019

Virginia: Bills Defeated in Committee

This week, the Virginia Senate Committee on Courts of Justice and the House Militia, Police and Public Safety Committee heard and voted to defeat many of Governor Ralph Northam’s requested gun control bills.

MORE TRENDING +
LESS TRENDING -

More Like This From Around The NRA

NRA ILA

Established in 1975, the Institute for Legislative Action (ILA) is the "lobbying" arm of the National Rifle Association of America. ILA is responsible for preserving the right of all law-abiding individuals in the legislative, political, and legal arenas, to purchase, possess and use firearms for legitimate purposes as guaranteed by the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.