"Without question, they agreed that the single most influential factor relative to hunting’s future is the will to hunt. The common belief is that as long as there is a sizeable number of Canadians who wish to hunt, hunting will remain an acceptable and viable pastime. For the most part, the apparent threat posed by anti-hunters, while not to be dismissed out of hand as being without some foundation, is not at the top of the hunting community’s list of pressing issues.
Round numbers gleaned from a number of surveys suggest that roughly five to 10 per cent of Canadians hunt, albeit not all of them hunt every year. Conversely, another five to 10 per cent are actively opposed to hunting. That leaves the vast majority of Canadians sitting comfortably in the middle. They don’t hunt, but have no real problem with those of us who do.
The real issue is the minority of us who do hunt. The trend in the last couple of decades has been one of declining numbers. Compounding this is the fact that, by all accounts, the average age of hunters is on the rise, bringing to light the issue of recruitment. Most agree that not bringing new hunters into the fold is the single biggest barrier to the long-term viability of hunting in Canada.
Access is another issue for today’s hunter. A decrease in the number of rural landowners translates into more of us looking for access to lands owned by fewer individuals. Urban expansion has also limited the availability of much of the prime hunting lands near our major centres.
Hunters themselves haven’t always helped in this regard. Poor hunting ethics and a lack of respect for property rights have led to an increase in landowners who refuse access to hunters, or at least to those they don’t know well. A new generation of landowners, many further removed from our hunting heritage than were their predecessors, just don’t want the hassle of dealing with hunters, or anyone else seeking access to their properties for that matter.
For starters, we cannot continue to be passive and accept our fate as inevitable. We have to learn to proudly stand up for ourselves in a manner that isn’t confrontational. When challenged we have to articulate ourselves in a rational, unemotional manner. We must accept our defeats with grace and understanding, and our victories with humility. We must take every opportunity to educate the non-hunting public about why we hunt and the contribution hunting makes to society.
As well, recognition and protection of our hunting heritage would benefit tremendously if supported by legislation, but that will require a committed effort to become a reality. We must also continue to support conservation and environmental causes, collectively as a single community, and embrace the shared values of the two movements."
I think the trespass issue is the biggest thing facing hunters today. Anti's are definatly using that as there trump card against us when spouting their rhetoric.
I, too, came from a small town where we use to hang our bucks in the maple tree out front and posting was only to keep those city folk out come deer season. Now unless you own it or lease it stay off it or fight the crowds on public land.
I've spent countless hours either on my hands and knees or bent over, messing up my back, looking for blood. One such instance I remember most was a hog hunt a few years ago in Mississippi. I had never shot a hog so when I poked a hole in this guy; I was determined to find him. Wearing snake leggings, I crawled on my hands and knees through the briars and the brambles and bushes where a rabbit wouldn't go. I found a spot of blood here and there but never the pig. And lucky for me, I didn't find...