As we celebrate 150 years of the NRA and reflect on the progress generated by NRA hunter members over the years, let us also acknowledge that our once widely accepted pastime is being pushed to the fringes then commit to recruiting others to “Join the Hunt.”
Most Americans do not disapprove of hunting. Then again, most Americans don’t really understand much about conservation. As we advocate for hunting’s role on our landscape, it’s important to note arguments that work and don’t work when speaking with nonhunters and anti-hunters.
Sooner or later all hunters “have a moment” while hunting. It’s a good bet a new hunter will experience one the first time he takes a head of game. That possibility makes now a good time to prepare him for the emotions that may come this fall.
In 1973, the NRA introduced a monthly magazine focused solely on hunting. At a time when existing publications tailored to a wide array of sporting endeavors, such a singular-focused publication was a gamble. But within a decade, American Hunter boasted a million subscribers.
Despite its importance as a good food source, as a wildlife-management tool and as a crucial source of funding for conservation in the United States, hunting remains vulnerable to misinformation and negative attention from ill-informed media, which can encourage support for restrictive legislation. The hunting community must appeal to non-hunters through common goals, motivations and values if our pastime is to remain a fixture in American life.
Theodore Roosevelt, our 26th president, was perhaps the most forward-thinking hunter-conservationist in our nation’s history. He also was an NRA Life member. Learn how his vision and leadership created what today we call the North American Model of Wildlife Conservation.
Along with the R3 movement (recruit, retain, reactivate), to save hunting’s future we must focus the next generation not only on the fun, physical challenges and nutritious, tasty meals inherent in hunting but also on how it cultivates wisdom and strengthens character.