Sunday, March 9, 2008

Hunting on the decline, and what to do about it (if anything?)

A couple of stories in recent weeks have discussed our nation's declining interest in hunting, even in states and regions previously associated with such past times. One story yesterday, dateline West Virginia, discussed how falling revenues from hunting licenses ($1.5 million over a decade) are hurting that state. This has led to legislation that provides for instruction in hunting safety in any school where 20 or more students are interested. The story includes lots of data and information about the decline in hunting, as well as what various states--and interested public and private groups--are doing in response.

Another story last week highlighted an elementary school in Reno, Nevada, where the students receive tuition in elk calling at an after-school "Elk Club."

These stories reminded me of the hunting mania in my own hometown. There, public school was dismissed two days each November at the start of deer season. Each fall, photos of 10 and 12-year-old children with their "bucks" appear on the local weekly's front page. I'll have to check and see if hunting is on the decline there . . . I'd be surprised if it were in a place so remote, indeed, a place where people stock their freezers for the winter with the deer and elk they kill.

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