Overhauling Hunter Ed

I’m glad to see NRA seeing the need here. I think the establishment of these classroom programs was a mistake, and has created a barrier to entry for hunting it can ill afford in the 21st century. Much better would be an apprenticeship program, with certification available for hunters who want to mentor new hunters. I strongly believe there need to be a variety of ways potential hunters can get educated. The one-size-fits-all approach isn’t working. NRA is pushing online courses, which apparently only Indiana is investigating, with other states threatening to cease recognizing Hoosier hunters as having completed the requirement in retaliation.

I suspect the greatest resistance to this will come from hunters themselves, who I’ve consistently believed are the greatest enemies of their own sport. It’s is very important for the shooting community to save hunting, but I’m not that optimistic. I think hunting will continue to decline, as previous generations of hunters reflexively resist change, and actively help hunting’s enemies to eliminate forms of the sport they don’t approve of. Sorry to be grim, but if there’s a survival instinct in the hunting community, I haven’t seen it.

12 thoughts on “Overhauling Hunter Ed”

  1. I agree we need some changes to recruit more hunters. The danger is that eventually hunters may hit that tipping point where the old guard vastly outnumbers any newer members. Then you get a vicious downward spiral where the old guard doesn’t want change and can block it. This makes it harder to get new blood and may actually drive out some of those who want change. Which makes it easier for the old guard to keep it exactly the way it was in the “old days.” Which makes it harder to recruit. Also, even if the old guard has a change of mind, they often have disconnected themselves from the people they’re trying to recruit, and so have difficulty making appropriate changes. This is pretty much what has been happening to most mainline Protestant churches.

  2. We definitely wouldn’t have gotten into hunting if we had to take hunters ed! Fortunately, we’re old enough that for most hunting in this state, it’s not required. Still trying to get it done, just in case we move to a state with even worse hunters ed requirements. It’s a huge hassle though!

  3. Rather than tarring all hunters with the same brush, I’d point out that hunters in Pennaylvania, by and large, are both the most obtuse and provincial in their ways, but also, by a large margin the most destructive to their long term goodwill as a result.

  4. Based on my little circle of gun nuts, hunting is well past the tipping point. I’d say of the hundreds of gun owners that I know, only 3 or 4 hunt. The rest are into Evil Black Rifles, Carrying, IPSC/IPDA, etc.

    I’d say Hunters are as big of a threat to our Carry/2A rights as the antis. Perhaps, even more since they’ve got ‘gun cred’.

    Here in Georgia during the push for SB308, Hunters wanted to have Wildlife Management Areas as a defined off limits location for licensees to carry. I saw them at the Capitol working Legislators and enlisting the help of the DNR. When I asked them WTF, they claimed that they trying to prevent poaching.

    Frankly, I couldn’t care less if Hunting was banned. When Clinton baned AWB, they were silent and in some cases supported the ban. They push licensing and training which bleeds into the right to carry.

    The Fudds killed their sport for their own selfish benefit, I won’t mourn the loss of hunting. The day when all of the Fudds are gone, will be a good day for Liberty.

  5. Mike

    Was it really hunters that were doing that or was it state department of fish and game or someone else? The WMA fight in Georgia occurred because those lands – bought with license fees over the years, were deemed more valuable as wildlife viewing – rather than hunting lands by the idiots in Atlanta. The proposal was to re-designate their use and treat them as parks – and correspondingly ban guns an hunting there. Then there was a compromise to allow hunting during designated seasons (by lottery if I recall at one time). GON pretty much killed the entire thing with swarms of hunters going after DNR.

    The fight wasn’t about concealed carry, though it and all guns were brought up at one point.

    BTW, of all the hundreds of gun nuts I know in Georgia, nearly all will also get out and hunt as well – or would if they were still able to. And ALL always carry a gun.

  6. This occurred in the last legislative session, close to crossover day. They were hunters but I didn’t get far enough in the conversation with them to find out if they were linked to a group or were individuals. The DNR Lobbyist (in his fancy uniform and carrying a gun) was pushing for it as well, pointing to them as demonstration of support, and then wanting DNR officiers to be exempt from the rule when they are off-duty. Georgia laws have alot of off-limits locations buried deep in the code and case law.

    The concept they were pushing was to continue the ban for possession of guns without a hunting license in the WMA. The problem comes up that alot of roads go through WMA’s, thus if you get out of your car in a WMA (unmarked usually), you will have violated the law.

    Someday, I’m going to get motivated to investigate how much of the License fees and Pittman taxes actually go to increasing hunting lands versus supporting a vast bureaucracy of government employees.

    I suspect that Fudds like the license fees since it reduces the numbers of people in the field and probably could care less where the money is going. A selfish and short sighted attitude.

  7. I grew up outside of DC, and have no clue how to hunt as a result. I have wanted to learn for years, and not one person I know that does hunt is willing to help me learn. They’ll piss and moan that their kids were never interested. But when someone their kids age is interested, they can’t be bothered.

    I honestly think most hunters want the sport to die at times.

  8. Funny you mention this. In the past month I have met with both my state rep and senator. This was one of my key points.

    I’ve wanted to hunt for 2 yrs now but have not been able to take a class.

    I proffered the suggestion for a mentoree permit. Essentially, it allows you to hunt with a full permit holder. You must be with them at all times. But this would allow for mentoree hunting until one can take the training course.

    1. We already have an apprentice program. Unfortunately, Pennsylvania’s is only for kids. However, other states have been open to allowing adults to participate in it, and we might be able to get that fixed.

  9. Hunter education has been a success in its primary aim, which is reducing hunting accidents. As for discouraging new hunters, I haven’t seen that myself (I teach hunter education as a volunteer). My own opinion is that the increasing complexity of hunting regulations, license drawing, smaller and smaller game management areas and shorter seasons are what is reducing hunting numbers.

    But that’s just based on the few people I talk to.

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