Explore The NRA Universe Of Websites

APPEARS IN News

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
Wisconsin: Important Right to Carry Bill Introduced

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Wisconsin: Important Right to Carry Bill Introduced

Today, LRB 2039/1 was introduced to the Wisconsin State Legislature.  This Right to Carry bill would allow for the concealed carry of a firearm without a concealed carry license anywhere in the state where an ...

California: One Gun a Month Bill Pulled from Senate Public Safety Hearing

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

California: One Gun a Month Bill Pulled from Senate Public Safety Hearing

Today, Tuesday, March 28, anti-gun SB 497, was scheduled to be heard in the Senate Public Safety Committee.  At the last minute, the bill was pulled from today's agenda. Thank you to all who contacted the ...

Texas: Senate Passes SB 16, LTC Fee Reduction Bill, by Overwhelming Vote

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Texas: Senate Passes SB 16, LTC Fee Reduction Bill, by Overwhelming Vote

On Monday, the Texas Senate voted to pass Senate Bill 16, NRA-backed legislation sponsored by State Sen. Robert Nichols (R-Jacksonville) and Joan Huffman (R-Houston), on a 26-5 vote.

Seattle Gun Tax Fails to Generate Projected Revenue, Succeeds in Burdening Rights

News  

Gun Laws  

Friday, March 24, 2017

Seattle Gun Tax Fails to Generate Projected Revenue, Succeeds in Burdening Rights

On March 16, 2017, the Seattle Times reported that Seattle city officials were reluctant to release data on the revenue generated by the city’s firearms and ammunition tax, citing taxpayer confidentiality concerns. Less than a ...

Virginia Action Needed: Governor McAuliffe Vetoes Self-Defense Bills

Monday, March 27, 2017

Virginia Action Needed: Governor McAuliffe Vetoes Self-Defense Bills

Following their passage in the Virginia General Assembly, Governor Terry McAuliffe vetoed multiple self-defense bills; Senate Bill 1299, Senate Bill 1300, House Bill 1852, and House Bill 1853. 

News  

Monday, March 27, 2017

NRA Applauds Texas State Senate for Passing SB 16

The National Rifle Association Institute for Legislative Action applauds the Texas Senate today for passing Senate Bill 16, legislation that substantially reduces License To Carry fees in the Lone Star state.

Georgia: Senate Passes Pro-Gun Bills – Governor Needs to Hear From You!

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Georgia: Senate Passes Pro-Gun Bills – Governor Needs to Hear From You!

Today, the Georgia Senate passed pro-gun bills; House Bill 406, House Bill 292, and House Bill 280. 

The Washington Post Gives Gun Control Group and U.S. Senator Three Pinocchios on Suppressors

News  

Second Amendment  

Friday, March 24, 2017

The Washington Post Gives Gun Control Group and U.S. Senator Three Pinocchios on Suppressors

Last week, we wrote about Americans for Responsible Solutions’ irresponsible misinformation about The Hearing Protection Act on Twitter.  Apparently, we weren’t the only ones who took notice of ARS’s complete disregard for the facts on ...

Trump’s Supreme Court Nominee Embraces Heller and Originalism During Senate Hearings

News  

Second Amendment  

Friday, March 24, 2017

Trump’s Supreme Court Nominee Embraces Heller and Originalism During Senate Hearings

Judge Neil M. Gorsuch, President Trump’s pick to replace the late Justice Antonin Scalia on the U.S. Supreme court, asserted during his confirmation hearings this week that Scalia’s landmark Second Amendment opinion in District of ...

California: Anti-Gun Bill Limiting Firearm Purchases to be Heard in Senate Public Safety on Tuesday, March 28

Friday, March 24, 2017

California: Anti-Gun Bill Limiting Firearm Purchases to be Heard in Senate Public Safety on Tuesday, March 28

On Tuesday, March 28, anti-gun SB 497, is scheduled to be heard in the Senate Public Safety Committee.  SB 497 would expand the existing one handgun a month law to include ALL guns.  

MORE TRENDING +
LESS TRENDING -
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.