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Must be the ATA's fault.

Hunting got lost somewheres in last generation. Lost hunting land. Decreased numbers of game (we used to have tons of pheasants and few deer, now the reverse). To many other distractions. To many anti hunting/gun groups. To many attorneys scaring property owners. To many dirt bag hunters ruining it for the rest. To few fathers passing on the tradition of hunting.

God I miss the old days.

Don
 

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Kids have way more things to do then when we were growing up. computers, cars, organized sports, cell phones on and on. Not to mention the biological stuff.
 

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First of all - where did your data come from?

Now, with that out of the way...


I have two words for you: "Corporate Farming."


It was over, when hardly anybody could make a _living_ anymore as a small farmer. Think about it. Think back over your own hunting memories. What role did a farm, a farmer, or your own farm upbringing, play in it?


America has a growing population. A greater amount of land has to be devoted to feeding and housing all those people. There is less farm land, so that means it has to be used more efficiently.


With corporate farming, comes "corporate attitudes" on things like land use & risk avoidance. These people are "better businessmen" than the little farmers of the old days...and it shows.



Hell, I wonder what portion of young people are "vegetarians" or animal rights believers?


Worse yet - a significant portion of the remaining, suburb-raised hunters, have absolutely atrocious gun-handling skills (if the likes of what I see coming to gun clubs during the month of September is any indication...I don't even feel safe to be there half the time).


And while I'm on my stump, let me cast my vote for the "four wheeler" as the worst invention by the Mind of Man, for destroying the essential spirit of hunting. Do you really think all those lazy, fatass kids you see riding around in Golf Carts at trapshoots, with their guns in a rack on the back, actually _walk_ when they're out hunting? (No, I'm not talking about _your_ kid...)
 

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Hunters are hunters biggest problems. Guys and gals who leave trash, cut "shooting lanes" resembling fire breaks, drive 100 yards across a field as opposed to drag a deer and leave tire marks, argue with neighbors.... The list goes on. More private land would be avaialble to hunt if people treated accesss to it as a priveledge.

Joe
 

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Personally, I think hunting is doomed. When hunting became a way for greedy SOB's whether through products,leases,paid hunts,pinning deer up to breed,etc etc to get rich it all stopped being what it supposed to be.

20 years ago we paid 50 cents a acre for 1000's of acres of paper company land that no one wanted at any price. Today it is in the 7.25 range and I was told it is positively going to the 10 dollar national average within a few short years. I'm through. They can have it. Chasing wild goats when you have a wall full has lost it luster to me.

With most of the land leased it has virtually stopped small game hunting. That's where I learned to hunt as do most kids.

Eventually it will hurt the clay sports as time goes on.
 

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If you cannot directly insert a kid into the field, try another route.

Consider a youth membership to Pheasants Forever, Ruffed Grouse, Whitetails, National Turkey, etc. This might spark enough interest to have the kid pester his/her parents or a friend to take them hunting.

I've enrolled several kids in these groups (youth memberships are cheap enough). I even got one kid into Ducks Unlimited even though I don't hunt them.

I used to read about cars before I ever drove one. I used to read Playboy before I ever... well, nevermind. But you get the picture.

Mike
 

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Cooper,you and other posters have pretty much nailed the reasons.

The farmers use to let most everyone hunt on there land around here.
Then some of the dumb locals abused this privilege,by leaving gates open where livestock could get out.Driving thur planted fields etc.

Big investors from New York buying up a lot of the farms and then posting.

So now about all the land is posted.

The number of hunters are down for many reasons.Both parents working and not taking the time to take their kids.

Schools back here allow no hunting mags.Some kids are too $am lazy to get out and carry a gun for one or two miles.

I did go to the Iowa State duck calling contest yesterday.There were many young hunters there.I did have a young friend there that asked me to come watch him call.This young man has a 4.0 grade average in school,works two part time jobs,a full time job in summer.He eats and sleeps hunting.We hunt together a lot.I got him interested in trap shooting.So two years ago the wife and I took him to the Grand.I paid all his fees and he shot the whole program.Two weeks after we got back his mother called and said the Grand was all that kid could talk about for a week.So, now he has three of his school mates interested.

I think this is what it takes.

Bocephas
 

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This is a letter I received yesterday from a customer concerned about aerial wolf hunting. Another misinformed person.

I cannot purchase your products if they originate from the great state of Alaska. I am boycotting services and products from there until the state government curtails its approval and encouragement of deadly attacks on the wolves--such a cowardly and inhumane deed.
Judith Arlington Heights, IL 60005
 

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As an added note. At our youth shooting class the kids from 10-18 where asked about hunting and how interested they where in that. Out of about 30 in the room only two expressed any interest at all, the rest didn't want to have any part in hunting and most thought it was "disgusting".

Eric
 

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Bo has it right - but I personally can't finace my own trip to the Grand much less anyone else's. I do encourage friends to come hunt with me - and that does work, but I have found it works better when they are successful - which as we all know is not the rule.

Joe
 

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One thing I have noticed that seems to affect hunter numbers but is not mentioned in the preceding posts is micromanagement and enforcement.

Years back the rule book provided when you bought a license was about 10 or 15 pages long. Now it is closer to a hundred pages long! This inevitably leads to many more opportunities to inadvertently break one or more of the rules. Where you had one basic season, now, depending on where you are you could be perfectly legal where you stand but go ten feet the wrong way and you are now a poacher. It seems the dividing line is supposed to be known to all even if it is in the middle of a forest. Sometimes there are four or five different seasons depending on where you are.

This is said to be because of the need to more efficiently manage the game resources. Yet, with the exception of a few targeted species, it seems that less and less general hunting game is being taken by hunters. Before you could hunt some of the predator species almost anytime. Now, they are more protected than the game animals they eat, or at least so it seems. As a result you are seeing more coyote and fewer deer, more bear and fewer small game, more turkey and, at least around here, virtually no grouse or pheasants.

Couple this with a change in attitudes of the enforcement arm where before they would talk with you, let you know that what you did might not have been in full compliance and then let you go with a warning for a first offense.

Now it seems that there is an instant rush on the part of too many enforcement officials to instantly go for the largest fine or penalty. It appears that too many enforcement supervisors and administrators want to fill out efficiency reports based on how many violation (i.e. money made from these violations) their employees can produce. The rush toward enforcement and away from instruction and guidance has turned off more and more adult hunters. Faced with exorbitant fines for minor violations, they simply stay home. Of course when Dad stays home so does Junior. Do that enough and you eliminate the license revenue from these people. Next step, the agencies cry "We are going broke. We need a license increase (or new additional licenses) to keep solvent." Well that drives even more people away and the death spiral has begun!

I am not saying this is the only cause. I am saying it is one contributing factor.
 

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I agree whole heartedly with the "corporate farms" helping in the demise of hunters. Corporate farms, and the "hunting farms" are ruining it for everyone, not everybody can afford to spend $100 or more to go hunting every time out. Twenty years ago I could go anywhere around my area and find ground to hunt on. Now days everything is posted as leased, or just plain no hunting. I despise road hunting, but it seems the last few years that is about the only option I have anymore. I fortunately have 1 place I get to hunt a couple of times a year, but other than that its pretty sparse as far as available ground. Many of the places I used to hunt have either changed hands, or even worse, took out almost every bit of available cover they had, to have room for more crops.
 

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Lack of places to hunt is a big problem. Fifty years ago, you could hunt most farms just by asking. Now what farm access there is, is "pay me".

Many farmers hate hunters because of the slobs who litter their property, break fences and generally act like jerks. I've seen signs shot, barns shot, houses shot and farm animals shot. I've seen beer cans, lit cigarette butts, fast food wrappers and bird guts dumped on farm roads. I know for a fact that many pheasant hunters shoot every domestic cat they see. I've seen far too many foul-mouthed and drunk hunters.

If I were a farmer, I'd never let people hunt except for mucho $$.
 

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Farmer's are already getting lots of $$$.....it's called CRP. Taxpayer's payments for not farming land & doing nothing! I think that any land enrolled in the CRP program should be public hunting, that would open up tons of area for new hunters.
 

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Hunter -44,
Interesting, I had this same kind of conversation with a reporter from the Des moines register no too long ago. I was bitching about the whole pay to hunt thing these days, and the very same idea you had came to me. We as taxpayers are already subsidizing farmers for their CRP ground, as such, we should be able to hunt it free of charge in my opinion. The legalities would definately have to cover the farmers butt in case a lawsuit should ever arise. I believe Kansas has a hunting program where the state leases CRP ground back for hunting, farmers get a double dip there I guess, but whatever it takes to open up hunting ground for people. I've got a 15yr old son who would like to hunt more often than we get to, but there isn't any good places to go around here anymore.
 

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Nope, CRP does not mean free hunting. Teach yout hunting pals to stop being A-holes, and maybe farmers will let you hunt again. As long as you think you have some "right" to hunt on another person's property, YOU are the problem.
 

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Jamesquinn
You may have misunderstood my meaning. I am by far a long ways from an A-hole pal. I always ask for permission first, I do not like, nor want, confrontation with an irate land owner, especially if I am in the wrong, knowingly, or unknowingly. I have never been one to jump a fence that was clearly where I should not be. Apparently you don't get the whole concept that's being discussed. A lot of the land these days is being bought up, or leased out to corporate farming, leaving a whole lot of hunters with less, and less, ground available to them. A couple of farms I used to hunt are still owned by the same people, but they now lease their land out, with that lease, went the hunting rights also. Couple this land availability problem, with farmers tilling every available acre with no regard for habitat, and soon in these parts a pheasant hunting will be an extinct pastime.
 
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