Deer hunting is an outdoor sport that may be in danger of extinction. The hunting industry peaked in 1982, according to the North Carolina State University College of Natural Resources. The sport has lost about 18 million participants since that time. Over the past three decades, hunting license sales in the United States have decreased by 18 million. In between the lines, the subtext is clear: youth hunters aren’t as common today as they used to be. Less children are becoming hunters as older adults pass away. Consequently, the quotient does not balance. In the case where you do not take your kids deer hunting, my first question is likely to be “Why not?”—followed by a simple statement that you are missing out. We need to get kids out in the fields and woods more often because they are the future of deer hunting.
Hunting as a tradition
It is hard not to think of old bolt-action rifles and dilapidated cabins when one hears the word “tradition.”. Maybe, like me, you didn’t grow up hunting. You don’t have to give up these traditions simply because you didn’t have them as a kid. There’s something to be said for passing down hunting knowledge to future generations. You can teach your children responsibility, patience, and valuable life skills through this activity as well as bond with them while doing it.
But hunting is as timeless as humanity itself. Our ancestors have hunted for millenia, since the days of pre-antiquity. As the world modernizes, there are few and fewer activities that we can share with our many-generations of ancestors, whatever your family origins or history. The ability to hunt, to make fire, and to be self-sustaining in a primitive way can help open the door to a thousand conversations with your kids: about their family history, their ancestors, and about history in general, and how people once lived.
Maybe you can make new traditions for your family this year.