Time to Play Offense

For hunters, it’s time to play offense – Powderhook calls for action from hunters and those in the hunting industry against anti-hunting movement.

The anti-hunting movement has overwhelmed the consciousness of the hunting industry. Hunters, hunting land, firearms, and the sporting way of life are under attack politically and socially. Millions of hunt-able acres are shut down in Oregon to protect the spotted owl. Lead ammunition is banned in California. Increasingly legislators, not biologists, are making wildlife management decisions. Professional huntress Melissa Bachman receives threatening messages to this day, over a year removed from the day she posted her now-famous lion photo. A deceptive foe, the Humane Society of the United States, seems to gain momentum even in the face of science, ethics and reason. The negativity and pressure has taken its toll, leaving industry leaders frustrated and searching for answers. A way of life once mandatory to sustain life is now fighting for its own life. According to John Frampton, industry veteran and leader of the Council to Advance Hunting and Shooting Sports, “we’ve got to do something drastic or hunting as we know it won’t exist for future generations.”For me this is personal.

Meet my son, Raleigh. He’s almost two. He can say “buck,” he’s got a camo hat and a toy gun. He’ll watch a hunting show with me for about 30 seconds before his tractors or blocks distract him. Hunting means nothing to him now, but Raleigh is going to grow up the way I grew up, with a father who will teach him to love the outdoors. Will Raleigh’s friends? Or, will the race of an urbanized lifestyle, the traveling soccer teams, the two income households, the need to make time, the hassle of finding a place to go, the anti-hunting noise – will the pressure finally erode our base and crack our hunting foundation?

I say no. We’ve back-peddled long enough. I get emotional thinking about Raleigh not getting the same opportunities to enjoy the outdoors that I got. I’ve had enough. It’s time to play offense.

Let’s agree on a few things first:

The path to becoming a hunter is long – too long for most people. While hunting numbers have slowly declined for over 30 years, the number of shooters, people who shoot a bow or firearm for a purpose other than hunting, has grown rapidly in recent years. Shooting takes a smaller time investment to both learn and participate. Plus, it’s often more accessible to our urbanizing society. New shooters lack exposure to hunting and the role hunters and anglers play in the North American Model of Conservation. Let’s make conservationists out of shooters whether they hunt or not.