We are well into another hunting season across Texas and the U.S.A., but hunting in America apparently isn't what it used to be. The hunting industry has reported an 18 percent decline in the number of hunters age 16 and over in the U.S. over the past two decades. Now, hunting groups are hoping to sell younger generations on the age-old sport by using 21st century lingo, like "sustainability," "organic," and "conservation."
One of the programs hunters are using to reach out to young adults is Field to Fork, developed by the Quality Deer Management Association (QDMA). Field to Fork teaches novice hunters about conservation, cooking, and the benefits of wild game over processed meats and foods. Similar efforts are underway here in Texas. "We call it a sustainability program," says Steve Hall, hunter education director for Texas Parks and Wildlife. "They started with some programs up in Wisconsin and Michigan, and now we (in Texas) work with Central Market and others to promote the benefits of eating wild game."
Hall tells KTRH that the message is perfect for environmentally-conscious millennials. "It's something that fits with a 'green' and 'sustainable use' culture," he says. "If you think about wild game meat, it provides millions and millions of pounds of meat for many families that would otherwise have to be domestically produced."
Now Hall and others in the hunting community are hoping the word will spread. "We know with the current generation, it is their friends that have a much larger influence on things like hunting, fishing and the outdoors," he says. "So one of the strategies to reach those millennials and the Z generation is to really get their own peers interested."