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The Right to Hunt

Notes from the North Woods

Bob LaBounty bagged this nice 8 pointer during the 2011 season. In the hunting party are Bruce Geraw, Cody Bennett, Colby Bradford, Mike Bennett and Roger Warner.

Bob LaBounty bagged this nice 8 pointer during the 2011 season. In the hunting party are Bruce Geraw, Cody Bennett, Colby Bradford, Mike Bennett and Roger Warner.

It is estimated that nearly 78 percent of all hunters in the United States prefer to pursue whitetail deer. It remains primarily a blue collar pursuit, that continues to attract over 11 million hunters, but the stereotype ends there.

Most hunters aren’t named Bubba, and they don’t live in a beatup, rundown, old trailer, with their second cousins. About 10 percent of the all hunters are female, and they constitute the fastest growing segment of the hunting population.

The average whitetail deer hunter has a success rate of about 12 percent per year and spends upwards of $1,000 annually on equipment and supplies. Hunters tend to have a higher annual income than average for their communities.

A majority are high school graduates, and nearly 30 percent have achieved some college education, and about 80 percent prefer to wear orange while afield.

Resident hunters average about 41.8 years of age, while those in the northeast are considerably older, than those in the rest of the country. The national base is aging, with fewer young hunters to fill the gaps when older hunters decide they no longer want to hunt.

A recent independent survey indicates that over 85 percent of American adults believe hunting retains a legitimate place in modern society, while 62 percent consider hunters to be the world’s leading conservationists.

Despite such wide support, the hunting fraternity remains an underserved, and under represented minority. The public accepts a distorted characterization of hunters as being bloodthirsty killers or dangerous, demented dolts.

Sadly, the media often helps preserve this image, by focusing on increasingly rare hunting accidents. Based on a percentage of injuries per participant, hunting remains one of the safest of all outdoor pursuits.

Hunters, and the hunting sports industry contribute nearly a billion dollars annually to wildlife conservation and habitat preservation. Over $746 million is spent by hunters in the United States annually, on licenses and public land access fees alone. Revenues from license sales contribute over half of the funding source for all state natural resource agencies.

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

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