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3 Emerging Trends Among Culturally Diverse Hunters



If a recent scientific study is correct, future American hunters will care more about filling tags with friends and less about hanging trophies on their walls. That’s the overall conclusions, anyway, of a random study of 1,374 hunters from across the United States.


The study’s results were recently published in a report compiled by Southwick Associates, a company that specializes in studying the economic impact of hunting and fishing in the United States. The SA study was prepared for the National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF).


The Millennial generation of hunters (persons born between the early 1980s and early 2000s) is twice as ethnically balanced as the ranks of their fathers and grandfathers. Nearly 90 percent of Generation X hunters are white males. The new generation includes only 80 percent males, and ethnic groups account for more than 5 percent of the overall population. That’s encouraging news for hunting’s survival.


With a more diverse population base, the new generation of hunters has also shown an affinity toward several new trends.


Here are the Top 3:


1.They Hunt for Food More Than Sport


According to the NSSF report, the proportion of Millennial generation hunters who were motivated by the chance to harvest meat is notably higher than among hunters of other generations.


The recent interest among younger generations in eating more locally sourced foods (the “locavore movement”) potentially plays a role in the motivation for meat, the report said. Nearly 43 percent of the Millennials listed meat acquisition as their primary reason for hunting compared to 28 percent of all other hunting age groups.


2.They Hunt for Camaraderie


The hunting media has long romanced the idea of deer camp and how it has become a lost tradition among younger generations. Although the traditional deer camp — guys only hunting for weeks at a time at one location — might be a thing of the past across deer country, deer camp is most certainly alive and well. It has just evolved with the times.


According to the report, nearly 30 percent of Millennials say they hunt so they can share the woods with family and friends. That is 5 percentage points higher than all other hunting groups combined. Furthermore, only 19 percent of Millennials said they prefer to hunt by themselves, compared to 24 percent of hunters from the other age groups. The younger group is also much more generous in sharing their hunting spots with each other. Of the Millennials, 30 percent said they have gone hunting after receiving an invitation by a friend or family member. Of the other age groups, only 19 percent said they had gone hunting after being invited to do so.


One thing all hunting groups have in common is they don’t care too much for trophies as a prime motivator. Less than 2 percent of hunters surveyed say they hunt because they want to “put a buck on the wall.”


3.They’re More Easy Going


It’s not necessarily a negative, but the NSSF report does indicate that Millennials are less passionate about hunting than the other age groups. For example, the Millennial group rated their interest in hunting as an “8” on a scale of 1-10, with 10 being most passionate. In addition, only 78 percent of this younger age group said they would most definitely buy a hunting license during the current year.


The older age groups ranked their interest in hunting as a “9” and nearly 90 percent said they planned on buying a license during the current year.


“The license data do not indicate why a hunter might take a hiatus from hunting,” the NSSF said. “Through the survey, we find that the primary reason Millennial hunters took a hiatus from hunting before returning in 2013 was going to college.”


Hunters of other generations say that the commitment to a full-time job did not allow time to hunt. Between 35 and 45 percent of all hunters also identified an important “other” factor outside of the pre-defined list. The list of “other” factors provided by respondents is varied but one common theme emerged: a general lack of time or interest in hunting.


Source: National Shooting Sports Foundation. “The Millennial Generation Hunter” Technical Report #6. Produced by Southwick Associates and Responsive Management.


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