Monday, April 05, 2010

Driving the culture.

Michael Bane has some interesting thoughts on where the gun culture has been and where it's going. His key point:
The gun culture has morphed from a hobbyist culture focused largely on hunting and somewhat on formal competition (back in the 1960s and earlier) into a more coherent culture built around self-defense, concealed carry, RKBA issues, training, competition and some hunting.
This describes me pretty well.

I mean, I'd say that guns are probably my biggest single hobby/interest; I write about them; I have worked in the firearms industry for most of my adult life.

I CCW. I shoot a lot, but little of it is in any formal setting. The last time I participated in competition under the umbrella of a major sanctioning body was shooting 3-position smallbore in college. Since then it's all been fairly informal action-pistol-style or bowling pin matches.

I've picked up a bit of a gun school habit. One class two years ago turned into a class and an Appleseed clinic last year, and I'm already booked for two classes later this year.

Yet I can count the number of times I've been in the woods with the intention of shooting a critter without having to pull a mitten off one hand. And my demographic is growing, while some types of hunting are worried about dying out. The industry needs to note this.


Weer'd Beard said...

Yep, that's me too. I'm an urban/suburban dweller, and while I'm all about killing my food, and LOVE me some game meat, when I look into hunting, I see huge fees, gear that needs to be bought land that I'll need to get permission to enter, all for the likely result of me walking in the woods all day and then walking back out. Its easier and cheaper just for me and the wife to drive to New Hampshire and hit the White Mountains for a nice hike, and I'll get a better view for my troubles.

So while I have friends (who live far away) who have offered to get me out in the woods, overall I don't see the chances as very high. Right now, my chances of bagging a rough-necked gang-banger in Boston are probably significantly higher than me harvesting a white-tailed deer.

And the guns in my collection reflect that.

Living in Babylon said...

I haven't hunted since I was a kid, and that was "Hunting assistant" kind of work.

I think what I remember most is evading the game warden afterwards.

Blackwing1 said...

I guess I'm exactly the opposite...I grew up hunting rabbits and squirrels with my Gramps, and my first (very own) firearm I bought at age 18 was a used Coast-to-Coast Mossberg 12-gauge, used for taking ducks, geese, pheasants and deer (still have it, too).

It wasn't until much later that I started shooting handguns with any frequency, and much much later that I had an interest in RKBA and CCW stuff. I suppose living in the city is what morphed my interests.

I re-started deer hunting 10 years ago or so, but most of my shooting now is the "just in case" type of practice. Popping off three rounds from the boltie .30-06 just to make sure the scope is still sighted doesn't really count.

DJ said...

Then again, there is the opposite end of the spectrum.

I love to shoot, and I love guns, but my focus is hunting, self-defense, and shooting, in that order.

All of my guns except three (a Kimber 1911, a Taurus PT145, and a Ruger LCP) are hunting guns. The Kimber 1911 does triple duty, as I carry it while scouting, working my food plot, and such, because hogs frequent the area, it is my primary home-defense weapon, and I shoot more rounds through it than any other gun except a Ruger 10/22.

I've been hunting for 53 years, ever since I was four years old. It's not cheap, but it's likely that I spend less money hunting than some people do target shooting, competing, and practicing.

I doubt that my end of the spectrum has become noticably less populated, but the other parts of the spectrum have become more populated and have become more noticed by the media. All that sounds better every time I hear it.

Tam said...


Sadly, the number of hunting licenses sold every year has been on a pretty steady downward trend for many years now.

Sabot said...

I'm a hunter but my main passion is self defense and the design of firearms. Of course there is the humorist part of me which is great because when I shoot I laugh.

Hunting is slowly becoming an afterthought but there is much peace in the woods, the silence, one with nature, peeing onto trees. Then the shot! Then the long walk out because I missed. I didn't say I was a good hunter.

DJ said...

"Sadly, the number of hunting licenses sold every year has been on a pretty steady downward trend for many years now.'

Yes, it has. Those numbers are a bit skewed here, though, because Oklahoma offers lifetime hunting and/or fishing licenses. Holders of such are not reflected in annual sales numbers.

But the trend is there.

OA said...

I've ranted about it before, but...

The hunting industry is doing a good job of killing itself off (or at least shrinking its participants to the point of irrelevancy) by convincing potential hunters that the gear is obscenely expensive (everyone knows you can't kill a deer from the ground with a .30-30 whilst wearing bib overalls from the maintenance shop) and the guided hunts (about all you see on hunting shows anymore) that the hosts push are even more expensive. Of course, there's also the "land management" style shows that revolve around spending tens of thousands of dollars (land, equipment, and you want how freaking much for a 50# bag of seed?) and thousands of hours to grow trophy bucks. Excuse me, GROW TROPHY BUCKS!!!!!!!! Almost all the shows come across as a high pressure hustle..."You have to do this/buy this or you might as well stay home!" (Probably should also be in all caps) If you know hunting you can filter the incredible amount of bullshit out, but if you're just looking to get started and don't know anyone with a bullshit filter you're going to start adding the cost up and find a less expensive pursuit, of which, there are seemingly many.

Without intentionally doing so, the hunting industry is turning hunting into what it is in Europe; a sport solely for the moneyed.

Jim said...

Just to save time and space, back up one post and sign my name to OA's comment. Add "right on" or some other expression of extreme agreement.

DJ said...

"Without intentionally doing so, the hunting industry is turning hunting into what it is in Europe; a sport solely for the moneyed."

Well said, and I agree. Hunting ought to be an activity, not an industry.

The hunting shows themselves are a mite paradoxical. They portray a very expensive activity, but they do so in a manner that might appeal to a ten-year-old who must be constantly over-stimulated. In particular, what they show looks like hunting but sounds like a teenager's bedroom. When the big buck steps into the food plot, the sound is that of a kid beating a trash can with a stick. When the hunters whisper so as not to spook the deer, closed-captions are used to show what they say because their voices are drowned out by what sounds sort of like music. I quit watching such things long ago and I turned the sound off long before I quit watching. They resemble hunting the way Hollywood resembles reality.

I'm a meat hunter. I'm not interested in trophies. I put two nice deer heads on the wall, after which I decided that made as much sense as nailing a stack of hundred dollar bills in their place. I haven't kept any antlers since 1992.

I grow a small food plot on my father-in-law's property to attract deer, but I'm after does, not bucks. They're more numerous, they're easier to hunt, and they taste better.

Once a year, I go back to New Mexico for a cow elk. It's cheap and it's easy. All one needs is warm clothing and a flat-shooting rifle, as the range typically exceeds 200 yards. I haven't bought beef since 2001. Eat some and you'll understand why.

Wolfman said...

OA- This is true on some level, but unfortunately that is only one side of the hunting industry. Meanwhile, the .30-30, .30-06, and .270 are in the top ammo and reloading sales nationwide, and a huge portion of hunters are people that quietly pass those guns and traditions down from one generation to the next. I agree that the firearms industry is being driven by defense minded shooters, but some of it is because of the wealth of available used hunting rifles. Simply, the hunting population is not requiring new firearms. The shooting industry is. We need to remember our brethren on both sides of this discussion, because there may come a time, even while winning the fight right now, that we will again have to depend on hunters (which I am) to float the industry. We (hunters) carried you (defenders) through the self-defense slump, now we are relying on you to carry on the battle. If we stick together, we can keep this good time going.

OA said...

Wolfman, you missed the point entirely. I clearly was speaking of hunting virgins, not people who grow up around the sport.

"Simply, the hunting population is not requiring new firearms."

Certainly wouldn't know that by all the gun advertisements directed at hunters, to say nothing of the "debate" portion of some hunting shows where some jackass says you need at least a .280 to cleanly kill a deer.

So all those new hunting cartridges and the guns they're chambered in are for whom, exactly? Not everyone gets granddad's gun...

Chas S. Clifton said...

Hunting is a "culture," and so is shooting. But hunting is perhaps more like sailing. You don't run out and buy a yacht, you start with a rented dinghy on a protected bay. And then you hang out with other sailors a lot.

There is a lot to learn -- animal behavior, conditioning, reading the land, etc.

You start small, say with squirrels. You don't immediately go after elk in Idaho.

Some state wildlife agencies are starting to take a more educational tack (to keep that sailing metaphor going). I mean to blog soon about what Colorado is doing.

And as the previous commenter wrote, the industry does not help by insisting you need a pickup-load of gadgets before you can hunt at all.

perlhaqr said...

DJ said: Once a year, I go back to New Mexico for a cow elk.

Hey, uh, next time you do that, can I come with you? (Not "to New Mexico", I'm already here. the "for the cow elk" part. ;) ) I've never gone hunting before, and someone with 53 years of experience sounds like a good start on fixing that...

All one needs is warm clothing[...]

Is a Wookiee suit warm enough? ;)

The Raving Prophet said...

I'll weigh in as somebody who got into shooting on my own. My father was into shooting in his younger years, but until I took it up, he hadn't done a thing in probably 30 years.

It's EASY to get into target/self defense shooting. Buy a gun, go to the range, game on. By comparison, hunting is a hell of a lot harder and more intimidating. I would have to attend a hunter ed class, which would torpedo pretty much an entire weekend (which I am unable to do). I'd have to find someplace to hunt, someplace to process the meat, and by the way, there's no way in hell I'm hauling a dead deer inside my mini-SUV, so I'd need something suited to that too.

Factor in that hunting is just not being that big a deal to me, and well, no real point. Nothing against hunting, more power to those who love it. I can get my meat quite satisfactorily at the store- yes, it would be nice to be able to do it myself, but I just don't have the time and desire. I don't have the history of hunting with my parents/grandparents. I don't have the experience. I'm as noobish as you can get- the only thing I have is a familiarity with the rifles/shotguns.

For shooting organizations to ignore people like me is to ignore a massive group of shooters. I won't buy a bunch of hunting apparel, but I will go for EBRs. I will go for new concealed carry guns. I am interested in good carry rigs and home defense tools. And my money is just as green as that of a hunter, and my vote is counted every bit as much.

Wolfman said...

My observation of the trend towards new cartridges is that companies are all trying to look creative and retain a market share. If you take a hard look at the recently released cartridges, the only truly 'new' cartridges are the .204 Ruger and the .17 HMR. The others are simply reworks of existing cartridges which fix non-existent problems. Example, Ruger's new .375 Ruger, which 'solves the issue' of the poor feeding .375 H&H and fits in a standard length action, while giving the same ballistics (well within the range of variation from load to load). Given that the .375 H&H fits and feeds perfectly in a multitude of available Winchester, Remington and even Ruger actions, and has a reputation for feeding like a stick of warm butter.

Sure, I love seeing what new elk-whacker Esteemed Gun Editor Suchandsuch is shooting these days, but we are reinventing the wheel to keep marketing high and appearances up.

As for 'debate' on hunting shows, I really don't watch those. I grew up in Montana, which is a fair chase state, and shooting hand-selected bucks over piles of corn doesn't really interest me.

Which brings me back to my original point, which is that 'Hunting Shows' are not nearly representative of the actual hunting population, or of the hunting industry. This would be akin to judging the automotive industry by the price and accessibility of race cars. I'm not trying to cause a rift here, and I agree with you that hunting shows make the sport seem exorbitantly expensive, but there is a much larger pool of hunters than those represented by video hunts.

Wolfman said...

Raving Prophet- Hunters Ed is actually an incredible valuable use of one's weekend, as it covers a multitude of points relating to hunting, conservation, safety, and relative legal concerns. Also, if you are interested, and in Arizona, I'll take you hunting. The drawing process is a little cumbersome here (I'm used to MT and a guaranteed tag) but the tag is less than a decent day to the range costs in store-bought EBR ammo. I'd even loan you my .270, or my .30-06, we can take my truck, and I'll even show you how to cut and wrap meat.

THATS the other side of the hunting culture. Just give the word and we'll help you get into it.

DJ said...

Well perlhaqr, hunting cow elk as I do it is very close to hunting chicken in a supermarket.

In New Mexico, elk tags are not available over-the-counter. You can hunt on public land if you win a state-run lottery. Good luck with that. Or, you can hunt on private land by purchasing a permit from the landowner, who is given such permits by the state, which allows you to buy a tag from the state. I use the latter method. Out-of-state, this runs about $1100 for the landowner, $366 for the state, $250 or so for the processor, plus travel expenses.

Hunting a cow elk consists of riding in a pickup that is driven along roads by a "guide" until a herd of cow elk (anywhere from five to 400 animals, usually) is spotted, at which point you bail out, pick one, and shoot it. You have perhaps ten seconds at most. That's it. No training or experience is required, just the ability to shoot accurately at long range under pressure. The carcass is usually field-dressed and loaded before sunrise, then it's off to the meat processor, followed by breakfast. Most likely you won't even get dirty.

Yes, really.

I don't do it for the hunting experience; if I did that, I'd put in for the state lottery. I do it for the meat. As I stated, eat some and you'll see why.

You won't need a wookie suit, nor will you need camo. But I prefer to go in January, when it's cold and snowy. A warm jacket, hat, gloves, and boots, over ordinary clothing, are all that is needed.

OA said...

Wolfman, you seem like a nice guy so don't take this the wrong way, but you keep misreading what I post (and if memory serves, last time I commenting on hunting we did this same crap a while back).

"Which brings me back to my original point, which is that 'Hunting Shows' are not nearly representative of the actual hunting population, or of the hunting industry."

Once again, hunting virgins. People who don't know the sport at all and haven't had it handed down to them, yet would like to get into it (there's a bunch of them, especially given the economy and the "healthfulness" of the meat). Where do you think they're going to look first for hunting information? Yup, hunting shows. If they actually make it to online research after watching the toxic hunting shows they'll find post after post at hunting and shooting forums that echo the typical hunting show hustle (so "yes", 'Hunting Shows' are becoming much more representative than you think), with more bullshit thrown in. Did you know you can't kill a feral hog with a 12 gauge slug? Yup, you can''ll just hit the "armor", flatten out and bounce off, at which point the hog will not only eat you, but steal your truck, drive to your house and have sex with your wife.

"... but there is a much larger pool of hunters than those represented by video hunts."

A pool that's shrinking annually (see Tam's 10:38 AM comment) thanks to the hunting industry and its sycophants. Once again, not everyone has a heritage of hunting. In fact, most don't, these days.

Anonymous said...

"The industry needs to note this."

Oh, they already have, from the bottom-up at least. Hit your favorite FFL (at least the ones not smack in the middle of critter country), and note how the number and focus of iron on the racks has changed radically over the years, from multi-K bird guns and deer rifles to black stuff and twenty-two's, and under the glass from hog-legs to target killers and carry-ons.

And the mfg's will get the message soon enough; some already have...Ruger comes to mind (of course the passing of Mr. Bill had something to do with that too).

Don't know if this is the same everywhere, but in Fla, even here in the center, most of what was "open" land is now under the control of the so-called "Nature Conservancy"...meaning it's fenced-off and posted. Most hunting is now limited to the big private ranches and like somebody said before, "hunt clubs"...a way more formal (and expensive) form of hunting than what I and even my son grew up with. The days of tossing the shotgun in the car for a day of dove hunting out by the gravel pits, or shivering up on a stand in the open piney woods are just about over, and it's hard to lay all the blame at the foot of the industry for that.



OA said...


"Most hunting is now limited to the big private ranches and like somebody said before, "hunt clubs"...a way more formal (and expensive) form of hunting than what I and even my son grew up with."

That's part of the hunting industry, and by your own words, it's "most hunting". How could for profit hunting not be part of the hunting industry? Care to guess where so many people got the idea to have a slice of the pie? Sitting home one night watching hunting shows. "Damn, they charge how much for a deer? I want in on that."



Ted said...

Out-of-state, this runs about $1100 for the landowner, $366 for the state, $250 or so for the processor, plus travel expenses.

That elk meat probably is costing you north of $12-15 a pound. I can buy Ranch raised (organic, I know the rancher) beef for around one quarter of that.


DJ said...

I can get it for the processing cost alone, Ted. My father-in-law raises beef.

But beef ain't elk.

DJ said...

I just added up this year's trip, Ted. It cost $15.10 / lb.

Chas S. Clifton said...

As soon as you start calculating the per-pound cost of game meat, you are off in the deep weeds, rhetorically speaking.

I have eaten plenty of "$100 ducks" and so forth, but that $100 (or whatever) includes scenery, sunrises, hanging out with the dog, bird-watching, and yes, a little shooting. People pay money for all those things all the time.

It is the total experience that matters.

Wolfman said...

First, OA, now that you mention it, I believe we did do this last time hunting came up. I'll concede the point that most hunting shows are industry fed crap fests. And the point that they portray a ridiculously expensive sport. What I will NOT concede is that they are the number one point of contact for hunting virgins.

Play the VPC google game. I got, on the first page, a double handful of advice to look into Hunters Education classes, to find other hunters and learn from them, and some quite reasonable words of wisdom regarding the time and effort it takes to get really good at it. I did NOT find anybody offering to teach for $Xthousand per guaranteed animal. I did find a link to NSSF's website. Unfortunately, I also found advice on Ghost hunting and Bounty Hunting, but hey, you can't come up perfect.

I have noticed that I'm the only one here discussing open land fair chase hunts, so it appears that the balance of anecdotes is on the other side.

I'm not intentionally denigrating the experiences that many people have had about hunting becoming a landed gentry sport.

I'm putting my views out there to try and bring some of the balance back to public hunting. If the only thing people know about hunting comes from hunting shows, then the hunters like me are doing a piss poor job of supporting their sport. This is me trying to change that.

Our discussion has gotten rather contrary, and such was not my intention. I only have experience with the several western states, and I did grow up in a culture of hunting. I regularly offer that experience to people I know, just as I offer the experience of shooting in general, much as many other shooters do. I offer my opinion and observations. They differ from yours, as do our experiences.

I am, right now, disputing the assumption that hunting shows are the only source of knowledge regarding the sport available to hunting virgins, by making my own experiences available to them.

Fred said...

The NRA sent out a survey a few days ago asking about introducing new shooters to the sport, and at the time that I completed the survey, nearly 75% of the respondents (including myself) said they did not hunt. I thought that was pretty interesting.

Anonymous said...

OA: Yep, under that expanded definition of "the industry", that be true.

I actually took Tam's wake-up call to the industry as a reference to hardware retooling to meet demand.

And while entrepreneurs are the backbone of any industry (hell, I guess if I had a thousand acres of scrub on the Fla ridge I'd throw up some fence and some signs and go into the canned-hunt biz myself), it is the closing and restricting of public lands available for hunting that has presented this particular opportunity for those in a position to milk it; those guys are more reactive than proactive.

Just more of "Your Tax Dollars At Work". More controls and less freedom? You'd think we'd be used to that by now.


Anonymous said...

Last time I checked, The Nature Conservancy had opened a majority of their property to hunting and fishing(in the West). ACCESS? 350 private landowners opened 2.9 million acres to the public in 2009 in Southeastern Montana alone...that doesn't include over 3.8 million acres of public ownership(BLM, State Lands, National Forest Service ,etc...)that is in Region 7... Montana contains nearly 35 million acres of public lands within its borders... thats why they call it hunting,you have to look for it.

DJ said...

"As soon as you start calculating the per-pound cost of game meat, you are off in the deep weeds, rhetorically speaking."

Yup. For example, the cost per ounce of dove makes elk look cheap, but a bad day hunting beats a good day working.

The Raving Prophet said...

Wolfman, thanks for the offer, but I live in MO. Also, due to my job every Sunday is taken- MO has gone to some online courses to cut down on actual face time required (it still takes about a day), but even that kind of time has been hard to come by lately.

I'll eventually get it done, but it's a ways in the future. I'm getting ready to initiate a .450BM AR build in the eventuality I do some hunting, but for now Bambi gets to live another day.

TJP said...

I think the very obvious trend here is that small-scale agriculture has vanished from everywhere except for the wide-open-country states.

For example, there is simply not enough game in the Northeast to support the tiny minority of hunters. Most of the species that are hunted are pilfering animals whose populations boomed when they were picking from farmer's crops, or eating the animals that were picking from farmer's crops.

Bird hunting now consists of placing a farm-raised pheasant on the ground so it won't fly on someone else's property, and then trying to be sporting when you shoot it. (Not possible.)

NMM1AFan said...

Not enough places to hunt left in the Northeast. I was reading an article in the Mass. Wildlife magazine that 86% of the state is covered by the firearms discharge exclusion zones, i.e. 500 ft from a dwelling, 150 ft from a road.

Where is there left to hunt? I'm sure it's the same in NH.

Chas S. Clifton said...

In today's combat environment, it helps to be a hunter -- or a ghetto "gansta."

What was it that Sgt. Alvin York said comparing Germans to squirrels?

Chas S. Clifton said...

Sorry, I meant "gangsta," of course.

As for the hunting-on-television issue, as long as I am reposting, read this from gun writer/hunting writer/war correspondent Galen Geer's excellent blog.

I think he nails the issue.

Anonymous said...

New shooters that I have helped since 2000.

10 CCW only (2 bought AR as well)
2 CCW and some IDPA or GSSF (1 bought AR as well)
1 LEO (wanted a start before the attending the academy)
2 Sporting Clays when I get back to PA in May.

I used to shoot 200+ rounds of sporting clays, skeet or trap a month and hunt as much as 30 days a year in the 80"s

The 90's were rough with work so trap and skeet went away and hunting was limited to 10 days.

2000's brought a move and now maybe 300 rounds of handgun or AR a month and 4 days of hunting a year. Shoot IDPA maybe twice a month.
I only shot two rounds of skeet and one round of sporting clays in the last 10 years.


Anonymous said...

anon at 2:02 P.M.:

"...thats why they call it hunting, you have to look for it."

If you really believe that, you just ain't been on this earth long enough to remember otherwise. And if that's the case, while I envy your apparent access to limitless hunting grounds, I feel a little sorry for you too.


Anonymous said...

...55 years old, third generation landowner,and I enroll my ground in Montana Block Management to allow hunters access to private, yes.

Thirdpower said...

Been fairly involved in shooting for several years now. I don't do anything 'formal' except go down to my range and put holes in paper and old cans. Most of my firearms are historical or for self-defense.

Never been hunting and have no real desire to.

New Jovian Thunderbolt said...

LOTS of good comments on this post.

@TJP... Around the Mid-Atlantic suburbs there is PLENTY of game, but nothing you are allowed to shoot. That's because it's solid suburbs with too much population density for the authorities to be confident in my harvesting. There's a spot off of the DC beltway at Connecticut Avenue less than a mile from the Mormon Temple that I could get a deer every Thanksgiving if they let me...

Anonymous said...

NJT, there is great hunting in the western portion of NoVa at places like Thompson WMA. The National Forest is about an hour from my place in Manassas. If you know someone with private land, the deer season in many western-nova counties runs until late March.


Unknown said...

I live in MD and there is a lot of goose hunting on the eastern shore. They have extended the season extensively. The state forests allow huintin deer in the western portion. The south county of Anne Arundel there is a lot of deer huntin on private land. Most hunters aske permission a month or so in advance. The just drive up to a farm and get written permission. I ride horse and every years I ran into hunters. A lot were in there thirties. The bad ones were the poachers. They would shoot a deer from the truck and drop in the front yard or drive. A few times they killed horses in the fields . that got expensive as they mares were $40,000 imports.

However many may know where to hunt. I do. And where to find deer. But I have no idea how to field dress. Plus a novice wants to go with an experienced hunter. There is no local place that pairs up experienced with a green novice.

IF a novice could get a hunter license and at that spot have a list of willing hunters who would take on a novice, that may be a solution.

By the way I never watch hunting shows. I have always known that is geared to fancy hunters.

CarlS said...

Uncle Sam taught me that once you've hunted, or been hunted by, others, the hunting of animals has little appeal. Even hunting for food is a chore, not exciting, just dull and necessary. I suspect that the newer generations, having been raised on TV and video games like Call of Duty, probably just don't see the appeal of hunting. Especially hunting encumbered by licenses, restricted locales, and all the other issues.

Anonymous said...

> It's EASY to get into target/self defense shooting.
> Buy a gun,

Check, as evidenced by the number of guns in my safes.

> go to the range,

Um, uh oh. No public ranges anywhere near me. It is not "easy" to get into target/self defense shooting. Possible, but not easy.

Going shooting becomes pretty much the equivalent of an out-of-town day trip. Something I may be able to do once in a while, but nearly impossible to schedule with my friends.

In addition to the time and distance (which was not trivial, even when gas was under $2.00/gallon), gun range culture tends to sap whatever enjoyment may have been attained.

When Colorado became a CCW state back in 2003, I helped one of my co-workers through the process of buying a gun and learning how to shoot. It is not something I will ever do again.

At least, not until there are scores of small indoor pistol ranges all over the metro area, so that I can meet somebody there withing 1/2 hour.

TJP said...

Sorry about my hasty post. I hope no one was injured in my punctuation accidents.


I forgot to mention that, yes, deer stick to the suburbs, and the small patches of land therein which allow regulated hunting are very popular.

In terms of upland game, things haven't been so hot since all the farms became developments in the 80s. It's all tame farm birds, everybody packs into a few WMAs early in the season, and it's a good idea to watch your back so you don't get peppered. My friends and I were once admonished for not hunting over a dog. The stupid pheasants were so tame we'd have to stomp near them to get them to flush.

My attitude is that I had my turn, and now it belongs to some youngster.

Army of Dad said...

It takes time and effort to do either hunting or target/CCW shooting. I am raising all of my kids to be at least comfortable around guns. The younger two are VERY interested, and for their ages, good shots.

My 10 YO son just went hunting (where he can shoot too) for the first time the day after Christmas. My dad never took me hunting (an island on the east coast of Florida has no hunting opportunities). The family tradition of hunting could have died with my generation as my sister now hates guns and my brother shouldn't be reproducing any time soon. I made the effort to start the slow and painful process of learning on my own and now trying to teach and learn at the same time. Here in North Texas there are still some no cost public hunting lands and some other low cost lands nearby. My son is completely into hunting now. I hunted more this past season than I did in the previous 4-5 years combined. Hours alone with your kid and nature are worth the price of licenses, Hunter Safety courses, ammo, gas, etc... I want my kids to at least be able to find their own food and get it ready for the table.


perlhaqr said...

DJ: Well, I'm a strict city boy, pretty much. I've never even seen an animal shot. I have no idea what to do with one afterwards.

The carcass is usually field-dressed and loaded before sunrise

Do you do that part, or is that some of what you're paying the guide for?

Army of Dad said...

And to address Tam's closing point I think that the industry is noting this. Your experience is far greater than mine, but I have seen so much more geared towards your demographic since I got back into shooting on my own in '98. Better selection of loads, bullets and EBR's in "regular" sporting goods stores help to illustrate how the landscape is changing. Hunting still accounts for huge sums of money, but non-hunting shooters are growing and the market appears to be responding at an increasing pace.

For a guy like me who enjoys both hunting and shooting this is of course a very good thing. Moreover, the changing/expanding political aims of 2nd Amendment supporters is most certainly a good thing and one that will help shape the market for guns and ammo.

DJ said...

"I've never even seen an animal shot. I have no idea what to do with one afterwards."

Mercy. Never heard of such.

There are five steps: 1) gut; 2) skin; 3) cut; 4) cook; and, 5) eat.

"Do you do that part, or is that some of what you're paying the guide for?"

You can do it yourself if you want, but it's part of the guide's job to do it for you.

I enjoy doing it. Happiness is a big gut pile, and elk make BIG gut piles.

Anonymous said...

I grew up in a hunting family in Texas. Going off to college was like a liberation. Remember saying to yourself, "I'll never mow another goddam lawn as long as I live"? I also said, "I'll never gut another stinking, flea-ridden animal as long as I live." Hunting is a pain in the ass. Did you know meat comes already dead, gutted, butchered and wrapped at the grocery store?
I never liked the taste of venison. I've had it prepared every way you can imagine.
Now, decades older, I'm sometimes nostalgic for the taste of wild quail, or the taste of feral hog (the only two game animals I ever enjoyed eating). But I sure don't know anyone with land to shoot on. I sure don't own land. My generation is poorer than that of my parents. And as far as hunting goes, public land in this country might as well be Soviet Russia. Take a state-mandate hunting course? What a load of bullshit.
Maybe someday I'll be wealthy enough to have a house out in the country, where I'll be able to sit on a ratty old couch on the porch, in the shade, and shoot at gongs 200 yards away. As far as animals go, anything I kill the coyotes can have.