The Monster Rises?

The moral of the story of Frankenstein is simply: don’t try to resurrect the dead, lest ye unleash a monster. Just as Doctor Frankenstein hastily dug up a grave and extracted the cadaver of an oversized, freshly executed criminal with a defective brain and reanimated it, the captains of the hunting industry are trying to breathe new life into the dying sport of stalking and killing animals.

When I wrote my book, Exposing the Big Game: Living Targets of a Dying Sport, the most current data available on the popularity of hunting was a 2006 US Fish and Wildlife Service survey which clearly demonstrated that hunting was steeply in decline. Now, they’ve come up with a new survey, taken in 2011, which suggests that blood sports may be seeing a minor revival.

It wouldn’t completely surprise me, considering all of the hip new pro-hunting books out on the market in the past few years (versus only one anti-hunting book) along with a stomach-turning smorgasbord of wildlife snuff shows on cable television lately. Not to mention, the ever-growing popularity of camouflage clothing…

According to the new survey, the percentage of Americans who hunt has grown from 4% in 2006 to 6% in this, the second decade of the new millennium.

The current survey breaks it down as follows: “Nationwide, 6% of the population 16 years old and older hunted in 2011. Regional participation rates ranged from 3% in the Pacific Region to 11% in the East South Central Region. Regions with participation rates above the national average of 6% were East North Central, West North Central, East South Central, and West South Central.”

Meanwhile, their figures for wildlife watching are more hopeful: “2011 participation rates for wildlife watching indicate its popularity across the country. 29% of U.S. residents 16 years old and older participated in around‑the‑home activities. Around‑the‑home wildlife watching is closely observing, photographing, feeding, visiting public areas, and maintaining plantings and natural areas, all within a mile of home. Participation rates for these activities ranged from 24% in the Pacific Region to 35% in the East North Central Region. Residents of the New England, East North Central, West North Central, and East South Central regions participated at rates above the national average in 2011.”

Of course, the new survey could be a sham. As Madravenspeak suggests, “I am guessing that hunters gave their federal hunting killing pushers (USFW) a frantic plea to change the way they estimated the money spent by hunters versus wildlife watchers and how they gauged the numbers. I have been told you can pretty much swing a survey to the desired result.”

Either way, we, the non-hunting majority, can’t let the mad scientists succeed in their plans for a full-on resurrection of hunting.

Text and Wildlife Photography ©Jim Robertson



10 thoughts on “The Monster Rises?

  1. Let’s not forget that hunters are counted multiple times for the different licenses they have to purchase, and if they hunt in more than one state they are separately counted in each state. I have a feeling the number of hunters nationwide is a lot smaller than even 6%

  2. Hunting groups have obviously tapped into the foodie community, too, making persuasive arguments (to the uninitiated) about how meat from hunted animals is preferable to and more “humane” than intensively farmed animals. I wonder if this small increase might also reflect what is bound to be a temporary blip among foodie hipsters, especially women. One hunting blogger I used to follow, a site where I also engaged as the resident gadfly from time to time, made considerable effort in recruiting young female foodies to hunting — convincing them that the “free range” meat they’d acquire from ducks, rabbits, deer and non-native wild hogs was sustainable, ethical and “honest” — and that becoming a woman hunter was a badge of honor in a man’s world. If you discuss hunting these days, you will undoubtedly encounter these talking points. They would be ludicrous were they not part of a blatant and organized effort to change public opinion about bloodsport and recruit new demographics. I never underestimate the power of hunting PR when I see young person after young person swayed toward the “hunting=happy meat” meme.

  3. I sent the stats to Katherine Magill of National Urban Wildlife Coalition and she sent back this: “Listening to CPW (Colorado state wildlife commissioners) last week. They were discussing this survey amongst themselves openly. One commissioner talked about he and two commissioners from WY and UT meet every year (hunting trip) and they were recently discussing survey results. All 3 agreed they were surprised because none of their 3 states remotely had such an increase (UT did have a jump in anglers only). Interesting!

    This is the 75th anniversary year of Pittman-Robertson. Any other survey result would have sure dampened the celebrations going on.

    Other thoughts:
    Because of 12-21-2012 there has been a huge “survivalist” movement. Many of these wingnuts decided to try hunting in recent years, as they believe they’ll need to when the world ends in Dec.
    We have also seen agencies giving away licenses for youth, seniors, veterans, disabled citizens, waiving safety courses… It’s unclear if these freebies were counted as sales. I’ve received two answers and haven’t time to delve into it.

    Waiting for hard proof of skewed results before I publicly challenge it. One of our larger animal-environmental groups WILL delve into these numbers, I believe

    So it will be interesting. They cited 895,000 hunters in Wisconsin. The hunters here have been claiming 700,000 and that is a stretch. Perhaps stating it will make people think they have to get in on it? There is hardly any wildlife left here to kill anyway they have been on such a killing spree. And the public ought to have a clue that these guys have NO sense of any decency or science, with hunters clamoring to kill an endangered species down to 350, after it took 30 years to bring it to 800 and millions of dollars of monitoring and fussing around.

  4. i remain hopeful that somehow accuracy will be accounted for when the “delving” gets underway.
    Let’s just all stick together…and when the time is appropriate…spread the word in the most effective way possible (yet to be determined I imagine).

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