Hunter Numbers Up, PF is Helping
If you haven’t heard – the most recent National Survey of Fishing, Hunting, and Wildlife-Associated Recreation by the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service reports hunter numbers are up 9 percent from 2006 to 2011. Actual numbers increased from 12.5 million hunters to 13.7 million. This is great news because we have only seen a steady decline in past surveys. The preliminary report says 38 percent of Americans 16 and older fish, hunt or watch wildlife and they spend $145 billion (yep, that’s with a “B”) on their recreation. Young people are active too, and of those 6-15 years of age, 1.8 million hunted, 8.5 million fished and 11.7 million watched wildlife.
I believe part of this is due to organizations like Pheasants Forever and Quail Forever and our dedicated volunteers. In the last five years, we have all worked hard at training mentors, holding youth mentor hunts, supporting shooting teams and promoting all this work online and in the Pheasants Forever magazine. We have seen more and more Pheasants Forever chapters getting involved with youth programs and teaching young people to shoot and to hunt. As our members age, they seem to be more interested in passing on the outdoor traditions they love to the next generation. I also believe the increasing interest in shooting is getting more kids outdoors and involved in hunting and other outdoor recreation.
Our numbers prove the scope of our increased efforts. In the last year, Pheasants Forever and Quail Forever chapters held 862 youth events (previously no more than 500 had been held annually), including 553 shooting events (which averaged 47 youth per event). More than 41,000 youngsters participated in Pheasants Forever or Quail Forever events!
Whatever it is you love to do — hunt, shoot, fish, camp, work your dogs – make sure you are taking along a kid. How else are they going to learn to love what you do? And if we who care don’t do something, who will? Let’s make sure the next survey shows the numbers increasing even more.
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