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A return to the sporting season

The average big game hunter was about 45 years of age and devoted at least 15.5 days to the pursuit of big game and about half of that time to small game.

Hunters come from all economic backgrounds, with annual incomes ranging from below $20,000 to over $100,000. Combined they spend nearly $23 billion dollars annually on their pursuits according to the most recent survey.

The number of non-hunting, wildlife watchers in the country is estimated to be over 71 million people. The annual expenditures from this group is roughly equal to the combined expenditures of both hunters and anglers. The total for all groups combined is $122 billion dollars and sportsmen account for roughly $64 billion of this total.

The vast majority of hunters indicated that they were initiated into hunting before the age of 20, usually by a father or a father figure. Hunters who are initiated by a father or father figure hunt more frequently and are more likely to hunt avidly throughout their lifetime than are hunters who were not initiated in this way.

Motivation for hunting varies with the largest percentage (43 percent) hunting primarily for the sport and/or recreation. Twenty-five percent of hunters hunt primarily for the meat, 21 percent of hunters hunt primarily to be close to nature, and 12 percent of hunters hunt primarily to be with family and friends.

Although only about 7 percent of Americans hunt each year, a large majority of Americans, nearly 73 percent, approve of hunting. We are a nation that retains a pioneer ethic. Despite a steadily decreasing number of outdoor enthusiasts, a majority of US citizens still support our traditional sporting pursuits.

Of the current 12.5 million hunters, 1.3 million are women. Research has revealed that between 1985 and 1990, the percentage of women who went hunting more than doubled, while the percentage of males who went hunting during this same time period declined by 16 percent.

Although rural, white males remain in the majority of all hunters, the increase in the female hunting population have been attributed to the basic changes in attitudes and changing roles of females in general within American society. Women constitute the fastest growing segment of the hunting fraternity.

Joe Hackett is a guide and sportsman residing in Ray Brook. Contact him at brookside18@adelphia.net

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