by Jason J. Brown - Friday, June 24, 2016
Hunting is undeniably woven into the fabric of our nation. For centuries, Americans have eagerly awaited their first trip of the season, the thrill of the hunt and the memories made with fellow hunters and family.
However, this beloved tradition has become endangered, as indicated by the dramatic reduction in the number of hunters and the diminishing availability of hunting lands available in the United States. In 1970, more than 40 million Americans bought hunting licenses. Fast-forward to today, and that number has plummeted to just more than 12 million.
The National Rifle Association has long advocated and battled to enact legislation that favors, empowers and enables American hunters, aimed at reducing choking restrictions on equipment and hunting days, opening up public lands to hunting and mandating established amounts of hunting space, and setting legal precedence that fosters the future of the outdoor sports.
It's up to us to buck the downward trends we’ve observed, reinvigorating the passion for hunting in America.
Introduce youngsters to hunting, and offer to take them on hunting trips or range days for practice. Defy common misconceptions about hunting to parents of children who may not understand the enrichment the outdoor sports have to offer. Use your years of passion and expertise to ensure novices can learn the ropes of hunting in a safe, responsible and educational environment.
You represent the legion of proud American sportsmen, the torch bearers carrying the flame of generations of hunters who have contributed to putting food on the table for families far and wide, maintaining the delicate balance of our precious ecosystems, and keeping the backbone of the American pioneer spirit alive.
The young citizens around you represent the future, and without your guidance and inspiration, those ideals are in grave danger of fading into obsolescence.
Consider bringing interested youths to an NRA YHEC local or state-level event, where they can learn the basics of hunter responsibility, safety, wildlife identification, orienteering, marksmanship and archery – the tools all American hunters need to be successful in blazing their trails and building the future.
The trends are worrisome, but with your help and the efforts of the NRA, we can turn the tide and help American rediscover its roots in the outdoors, preserving the spirit of hunting for generations to come.