Why Some Hunters Are Giving It Up!!

Thread starter #1

brofoster

Senior Member
I just want to put my two cents in on why I believe hunter numbers are dropping. I am in my 12th year of service in the USMC. I am a Native of Millen Ga, but picked back up on hunting a few years ago in SC. The opportunity was there so I joined a gun dog club just because I had never done it before. Honestly, I enjoyed it. Between the dogs yelling and my eyes getting bigger than CD's at a charging buck or two, I loved the rush. Here within the last year I got stationed in Albany Ga. I decided since the opportunity was there, I would start back to bowhunting and rifle hunting. I actually love hunting, but that was only the preface to what I have to say.
The reason the hunters are dropping out is because most hunter are going through, or have went through what I have. The average hunter is a little over 40 years old. Usually someone who is married and done chasing women (most of us). No disrespect to our women hunters. Most hunters fall into the $30,000 to $40,000 income range. Some a little more, some a little less. On opposite ends of the spectrum you have a small percentage where money is not a issue, and a lot more where money is the only issue. For the sake of conversation and consistency, I will discuss the middle of the road, 9-5, usually weekend hunter that makes up the majority.
This is how my last year of hunting went with respect to finance:
Hunting Liscence: $ 25
.270, scope, mounts $700
Remington Core-Lokt (year) $ 80
Thermacell plus refills $ 75
Gas (Leesburg to Ogelthorpe)
atleast twice a week $640
Hunting clothes $100
Accesories (scents, soap, etc.) $150
Lease (75) acres $750

Just off the top of my head that is $2500. Not counting that many days I had the kids with me. That means usually a stop on the way, or at least a stop on the way back. Here are just a few more things to throw on the fire if you still say that's not bad. This year I bought a new bow, a .243 for the kids (they are tired of watching), that means another stand, a new lease $1000, tractor, seed lime, and fertilizer $1000 (easily), hunting clothes for the kids, processing fees, New carbon Express arrows, tuning and restrining the bow, and I could go on but I will stop there. I would have to start another thread on the land issue, especially when you are a man of color but I will not go there either. I have met some really nice people out there, but some folks still have issues. Most folks are really nice though.

The point that I am trying to make is that this can get crazy quick. I get people who are interested in hunting all the time; especially after they see something I have killed. Once I start laying the heat on their wallet, they say it is not worth it to kill a deer. They would rather just buy the meat from me.

I could do the same thing, but I was born and raised in the woods and when I can't hunt or fish, I want to be dead. I actually have a few friends that would host me to hunt and I would kill a deer, but what about the other days when I just want to be out there. Away from everyone and everything. My wife doesn't say much because she knows that this is my one way to let it all out and get away. Honestly, I spend a lot of time in that stand talking to God about later on. This year my wife started a real estate business, and believe me it is in the beginning stages. Also this year, I plan on making a missionary trip to Africa. Money is the issue, at least around here it is.

Brofoster
 

GeauxLSU

Senior Member
Brofoster,
I hear ya' but think about this. How much of what you just laid out is specific to DEER hunting? There is no reason EVERY man can not enjoy hunting (in general) in some fashion. It's hardly ever cost effective but what other hobby would you spend your money on? I generally don't add up my annual hunting costs (don't want to) but whatever it is, I divide it by the number of days I spent in the woods (not just hunting). There is no other 'vacation' I can take that cheaply on a per day basis.
By the way, if you lived near me, I'd gladly you bring you to my place, free of charge.
 
Thread starter #4

brofoster

Senior Member
Phil,

I don't understand the question. Which part of what was laid out does not pertain to deer hunting? I guess if I did the math and divided the total cost by the money spent, it would look a little better. But you and I know there is more to it than what I have listed here. Regardless of what it costs, I will be there, because I love it. The point that I want you get is how do I address the price issue to bring new people in.

Calvin
 
Good post Brofoster!

I see part of the the shrinking numbers of hunters due to the world we live in, where way too many people are distracted by life.

People who spend the majority of their time working at a job they hate to pay for things they don't really need lose themselves in the shuffle.............hobbies & hunting gets put on the backburner once again in some cases.

Personally, the only thing that will ever stop me is poor health..........
 
Thread starter #6

brofoster

Senior Member
OK! Let me do some damage control because I think folks are getting the wrong idea about this post and missing my point. I said that folks, "would rather buy meat from me". Would rather buy and me selling are two different things. I do not sell deer meat. It is mostly given to the elderly in my church, and that is coming from my freezer from what I have for my family to eat. Some have insisted on giving me a couple of dollars for gas. Which after being borderline rude, I have taken. With all of the Business Law that I have taken, I think I'm OK on that front.

The real point that I am trying to get out there is that when you get folks who were not raised as hunters, I have found it difficult to get them to buy into the cost. Especially when this thing that is going to cost them a pretty penny has never had priority. I have had good folks say, "Well I'll host you for a hunt". I appreciate the offer but I am not putting this out there to get someone to host me. I already have a lease. A sorry one that is over ran with cows, but some place I think that I will kill a deer or two none the less.
The cost is a serious issue for me as well, but the priorty has always been there. As long as WalMart is open and there are more than two or three trees still standing in Ga, my climber will be hung on one of them.

Calvin
 

SBG

Senior Member
You raise a lot of good points Bro. Calvin. There are a lot of costs that goes with hunting; but, a lot of those costs are a one time expenditure. Take a treestand for instance. It may cost you $200 up front, but divide that over 10 years of use...you get the point.

I'm not trying to minimize the impact that cost has on recruiting new hunters; obviously it is a major consideration.

BTW, you are welcome at my club anytime.
 
You're right, money is a big thing, especially when you have the few "haves" driving up the lease prices so they can have an exclusive club and write it off as a business expense at the same time. I can't compete with that when it is coming from my milk/bread money.

And I understood what you said about the "selling deer" thing from the beginning. A lot of people have said somthing similar to me about it.

T
 

GeauxLSU

Senior Member
brofoster said:
Phil,

I don't understand the question. Which part of what was laid out does not pertain to deer hunting? I guess if I did the math and divided the total cost by the money spent, it would look a little better. But you and I know there is more to it than what I have listed here. Regardless of what it costs, I will be there, because I love it. The point that I want you get is how do I address the price issue to bring new people in.

Calvin
What I meant was a man can hunt other animals in this state without all the cost you laid out that is often associated with deer hunting. Though it's often hard to tell, especially from reading these boards, it's not ALL about deer hunting. My other point was, the per day cost of hunting (even deer) is cheap if you count the days spent in the woods not hunting, but planting food plots, scouting, checking cams, whatever. It's all therapeutic to me and is still, even at today's prices, way cheaper than any other 'vacation' I can take. It's a bargain. Not per pound, but per hour. ;)
 

GeauxLSU

Senior Member
brofoster said:
OK! Let me do some damage control because I think folks are getting the wrong idea about this post and missing my point. I said that folks, "would rather buy meat from me". Would rather buy and me selling are two different things. I do not sell deer meat. It is mostly given to the elderly in my church, and that is coming from my freezer from what I have for my family to eat. Some have insisted on giving me a couple of dollars for gas. Which after being borderline rude, I have taken. With all of the Business Law that I have taken, I think I'm OK on that front.

The real point that I am trying to get out there is that when you get folks who were not raised as hunters, I have found it difficult to get them to buy into the cost. Especially when this thing that is going to cost them a pretty penny has never had priority. I have had good folks say, "Well I'll host you for a hunt". I appreciate the offer but I am not putting this out there to get someone to host me. I already have a lease. A sorry one that is over ran with cows, but some place I think that I will kill a deer or two none the less.
The cost is a serious issue for me as well, but the priorty has always been there. As long as WalMart is open and there are more than two or three trees still standing in Ga, my climber will be hung on one of them.

Calvin
If I run across anyone who I think I can recruit into hunting, there first season is going to be free. The only they'll need to buy is a license. I've got an extra gun, stand, binos, safety vest, clothes (if they are my size), etc.... If they are still interested after that, they'll make their own decision about if it's worth it. Clearly it's worth it to us. I find MANY MANY MANY more people who are turned off to the idea of "sitting for hours on end in the cold hanging in a tree" than the cost of buying a rifle and paying a lease membership.
But yes, I understand your point completely. I just think it's manageable.
A WMA stamp, a used rifle and Wal Mart climber won't break most folks. And like said, next year, it's just the license.
 

WTM45

Senior Member
Growing up, I wore what clothes I had. Parents gave me clothes that would last, not look good. Overalls and a wool coat. Socks on my hands, old hat pulled down over my ears. Grandpa let me use either the single shot 12ga, or the old Winchester "Thutty-thutty" rifle. Two slugs, or two Silvertips. Sat on the ground many a frosty morning in Cedar Creek WMA, or other state lands.
It does not take much to hunt if you really want to go! I can afford better now, but I still stay as simple as I can. I don't get caught up in all the hoopla over gear, guns and material stuff. And, the most expensive lease is no guarantee a deer will be in the freezer.
Simplify life. Enjoy the moments. Life is very short.
 

TRC

Senior Member
You think hunting is expensive......I made the mistake of getting hooked on Bass Fishing and I'm starting to realize just how "cheap" Deer Huntin really is in comparison.......lol! Bout time to head back to the woods!

Tom
 

AAADawg

Senior Member
If ya'll think Deer Hunting is expensive try Duck hunting!!!!


One of the reasons Hunter #'s are down is because of our aging society....I dont care who you are mornings spent chest deep in a frozen beaver swamp are harder on a 40 year old body than it is on a 25 year old body....I know, Ive got a 41 year old body!!!
 
it's as expensive as you are willing to pay.......it's kinda like gas for your F250, Z-71, or any other Gas hog P/U truck.... Mine is a hog, but gas would have to get to 4-5 bucks a gallon before I limit my driving...I'm sure a lot of us are in the same boat..
 
You make a good point about the cost brofoster. Someone just getting into the sport might well be taken back by the "upfront" costs to get in.

From my perspective I make the distinction between "hobby" and "pursuit". Some people view deer hunting (or any other activity for that matter) as a "hobby". To them, a hobby is something you do when there is nothing else to do, it doesn't cost much money, but the potential for "instant gratification" is there. Granted such "instant gratification" is "small ball", but look at the people who engage in a hobby. They don't put much in, so they don't expect much out.

A "pursuit" is an entirely different thing. Someone who is engaged in a pursuit is commited, lock, stock, and barrel to the activity. They think about it all the time. The amount of time spent doing other things including necessities like work, etc. are merely unproductive time spent away from their "pursuit". No time or money spent in engaging in their pursuit is ever wasted.

I've given a lot of thought, and put in a lot of effort to do my part to get more people into our "pursuit". I came to the realization some time ago most people aren't interested in a "pursuit", because that requires dedication and self discipline, two qualities many people today just don't possess in large degree. Accordingly, when they see the commitment required to maximize the "gratification" of hunting, they recoil, because they realize its' not just "wake up early, get dressed, go sit in a tree for an hour, kill a deer, and be home in time for the Falcons game".

It concerns me somewhat the number of participants in our pursuit are dropping. Young people are not being brought in in large enough numbers to replace those of us who have either quit because priorities have been rearranged, or gone on to the "Happy Hunting Grounds" on the other side.

Like you, if I can draw a breath, I'm going to the woods. This is my pursuit, and I will continue in it as long as I physically can.
 
Thread starter #16

brofoster

Senior Member
I guess I can see a bit of a different angle as I think back on it. I hunted for my first three years without a rifle. I used a shot gun and an old 7ft stand that just had a flat plywood seat at the top. I had one walmart set of Liberty coveralls, and wore my military issued boots. I can see that as a starting point.

As I went through the first three trial and error years, I began to advance beyond the primary things of hunting as most hunters do. I stepped my game up a little as the new facets of the hunt became apparent to me. No hunter wants to stay in the beginning stages. A lot of folks said that you can hunt basically pretty cheap with the basics, but how many of us are still hunting like that?

I REST MY CASE!!!!

It's only natural though. We get tired of the milk and begin to want the meat.

Brofoster
 

Son

Senior Member
The basics

Ya might say I stuck with the basics. Don't buy any scents or special equipment. Wear the same clothes hunting that I work in and/or wear to town. The only camo I have was given to me. I did graduate up in rifle quality, now shooting a Browning A bolt in 06 I bought a few years ago, does a good job. Still shooting my old 20 something year old bow. Use a couple matched sheds for rattling horns, and natural scents from sweetgum, wax myrtle and pine boughs. My technique ain't broke, so I ain't changing.
OK, I'll confess, I got two of them popups, just makes it easy to hunt for a senior citizen.
What we doing in the Political forum???
 
Thread starter #18

brofoster

Senior Member
Son,

I guess you are an exception to the rule then. You have kept it pretty much simple. The reason I also posted this thread here is because of all politics surrouding hunters declining. Land Issues, anti-gun groups, insurance companines. GON I think usually has a spin on a lot of their view expressed. Just wanted to put a different perspective out there. We talk about declining numbers but was is being done to broaden the base of hunters?
 
WTM45 said:
Simplify life. Enjoy the moments. Life is very short.
Well said. For several years, I was caught up in the gotta get the latest and greatest gear craze. I've decided over the last few years to get back to the basics. I have more money in my pocket now, and I'm enjoying my time in the woods and on the water better. A lot of the new stuff that comes out is a gimmick anyway, developed as much by some marketer as a hunting expert. I look for improvements on proven gear before I buy.

Even with that said, starting out in hunting is expensive, one way or the other, so I understand what Calvin is saying. WTM45's point about only going with the basics will help, and I think is what Geaux is getting at too. You don't even have to have camo - the first two seasons, I hunted in jeans and a green and black flannel shirt, with a borrowed Savage .30-06 and iron sites. Just get the license, borrow a gun or buy a cheap one. Everything else can be bought over time as you save the money. The place to hunt's probably the hardest to come by, and the most expensive part of the equation.

I can tell you though, once you're bitten by the hunting bug, you'll shell out whatever it takes.
 
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