The 2022 National R3 Symposium wrapped up last week in Broken Arrow, Oklahoma. The 220 participants representing over 100 different organizations with an interest in hunting and shooting sports were the first to lay eyes on data released from the Council to Advance Hunting and the Shooting Sports (Council), documenting a slight decrease in hunting license sales in 2021.
It’s understandable if hunters everywhere feel defensive about our pastime, even to the point of being bashful. But the author has learned to bury the ignominy and proclaim his love of guns and hunting. After all, the last time anyone checked hunting was a legal activity.
In our zeal to teach hunter-recruits marksmanship and fieldcraft we must not forget to arm them with the knowledge of everything American hunters have done to conserve our natural resources. A well-armed hunter, after all, is our best advertisement.
If you’re looking to make a hunter out of your young apprentice, realize that comfort can either water or whither a new hunter’s interest. Make sure those early hunts are as enjoyable as possible, and you’ll be begging them to take you along in later years.
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.”