Millenials & Hunting Heritage: Some “Like” It

What makes a person want to hunt an animal, whether it be a squirrel or a white-tailed deer? Admittedly, it’s strange to imagine myself never having experienced hunting. But if I was an adult that had never gone hunting, would I feel a need to learn more about it, try it, or would I even understand it? It’s tough to say because again, I really can not imagine myself not hunting.

For those persons never exposed to deer hunting or even small game hunting, whether it be as a child or a young adult, it would take a lot of initiative to gear up, get out there and try it all on their own sometime later in life. People definitely do it.

Will Millenials Want to Hunt?

The act of hunting is definitely something natural within humans, but it’s not necessarily easy to start doing—at least not in today’s world. Let’s face it, hunting is much more of a financial commitment today than it was in the past. Even a just a few decades ago, before hunting leases were the norm, everyone at least knew someone that knew someone were a person could do some sort of hunting. Now, hunting land translates into income for landowners, so in some cases that means even children of landowners are not allowed to hunt the family land.

There are still public lands, but depending on when and where a first-time hunter went, well, that could ruin a person for life. There are a lot of great public hunting lands out there, too, especially the managed state and federal properties.

Source: “Millennials are now our society’s largest group, but they don’t participate in hunting at the same rates as baby boomers,” Warnke said. “Meanwhile, the boomers are aging and dropping out of the hunting population. Their losses wouldn’t be so noticeable if more millennials started hunting. In business terms, the hunting community leaves a lot of money on the table by not engaging more millennials.”

Warnke said millennials represent a great opportunity for hunting, much as digital cameras once did for Kodak.

“People forget that the driving force in digital photography was a Kodak employee who Kodak ignored,” Warnke said. “Kodak didn’t embrace change, and look what happened to it. We can’t afford to ignore millennials, especially when so many of them are open to hunting, including females.”

Warnke said half the millennials in adult “Learn to Hunt” programs are young women. That trend is also apparent in DNR license sales. In 2006, females made up 7.66 percent of the state’s roughly 645,000 gun-deer hunters. By 2014, female participation accounted for 10.6 percent of gun-hunters.

Female participation rates for gun-deer hunting are increasing fastest among millennials. For instance, female participation never exceeded 20 percent for any age group until 2007, when girls represented 20.6 percent of all 12-year-old gun-deer hunters. In 2014, girls represented nearly 26 percent of 12-year-old gun-deer hunters.

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