Hunters worried about sport’s future as fewer young people are participating
Numbers show sharp drop in the 25-34 age group, which used to be the largest share of the hunting population
The Denver Post
As leaves begin to turn and Colorado heads into the heart of the fall hunting season, recreational hunters and those who make their livelihood off an industry with a $26 billion annual impact on the American economy are wondering why their numbers are declining, especially among millennials.
There were 11.5 million hunters in 2016, according to the most recent figures published by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, representing a decline of 2.2 million from 2011.
In 1991, 28% of U.S. hunters fell in the 25-34 age group, accounting for the largest share of the hunting population. That number declined to 16% in 2016, and there were similar decreases in the 18-24 age group. Meanwhile, there has been a corresponding aging in the group. In 1991, 23% of the hunting population were between 45 and 64. That percentage doubled to 46% in 2016.
“Kids, we’re losing them,” said Jeff Danker, a hunting personality who hosts the show “BuckVentures” on the Sportsman Channel. “If Grandpa don’t hunt or Dad don’t hunt, they ain’t hunting.”