Overview of the IHEA Conference
We’re leaving the IHEA conference with a few more states on our DNR program.
I’ve realized that the hunting population in America is on the downhill slide and there’s not much that can be done about it. The powers that be seem to want to keep doing the same thing and expect different results. This is not a complaint. Just an observation and an echo of what other Hunter Ed administrators have told me.
What’s Keeping Hunters Out of the Fields?
The one thing that keeps the hunters out of the fields is that the number of fields is dwindling and the cost is rising. And the amount of time it takes to become proficient at shooting well enough to enjoy hunting and then understand how to hunt and find a place to hunt… All these things keep people from taking up hunting.
Hunting is cool, but it takes a lot of time to hunt. And you have to hunt a place to hunt.
We were a hunting family and spent the better part of $10,000 per year for 25 years on the deer lease, trailer, Jeep, corn, and a lot of time to keep everything running.
Not anymore. We do shoot clays and enjoy wingshooting when we can in the States. But Argentina is my place to hunt. I don’t like to eat ducks, so I don’t hunt them.
I think it’s the time commitment that’s causing the decline in numbers. That, coupled with the encroachment of humans into more of the space that used to be for hunting.
Frequency and Duration of Tasking
I go back to this thing I said in the speech at the 9th Annual Governor’s Conference on Hunting Heritage: “Success has everything to do with the frequency and duration of tasking!”
We are doing a great job of teaching safety. But because of the other things we do in our spare time, the difficulty of finding a suitable place to hunt, the amount of time it takes to become proficient at shooting, and the fact that we humans just don’t have the time to do what we used to have time to do, then it makes sense why the hunter number is dwindling.
This is biased but factual. The greatest number of hunting prospects are in wingshooting. And that is also the hunting sport that takes the most amount of time and money to produce proficiency! Hunter Ed programs are not coaching proficiency.
Remember: success has everything to do with the frequency and duration of tasking!
I shot a shotgun with a suppressor on Tuesday and it really works. But it is so heavy that it renders the gun useless as a sporting tool. And it’s definitely not a self-defense tool.
We were amazed at how many Hunter Ed administrators are still looking down the gun when shooting a shotgun. Some are coming around, and some states (Georgia, Florida, Iowa) are beginning to catch on and look at implementing some proficiency training programs.