Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Hunting and Revenues

Here's an interesting article from The Christian Science Monitor on efforts to rebuild hunting:
Hunters as endangered species? A bid to rebuild ranks.
Youth hunt days in several states attempt to attract young people to a fading sport.

By Mark Clayton | Staff writer of The Christian Science Monitor

Along Indiana's highways, 50-foot billboards pitch: "Take a Kid Hunting Day." They depict father and son ambling down a country road - two dead ducks drooping from one of the boy's hands, a shotgun in the other.

Trying to appeal to youths' instincts for fun and family, Indiana state officials and national hunting advocates are banking on a phalanx of sophisticated promotions to lure a new generation of would-be hunters into the fields, or woods.


Anxious to reverse the decline in the sport - and the resulting drop in state revenues from hunting licenses - hunting and gun groups and state wildlife and conservation departments are pursuing several initiatives.
The article reaffirmed what I already know to be true — for all the talk about "saving America's cherished hunting heritage," it is, as always, really about the MONEY. The states want hunting license revenues and access to the Pittman-Robinson slush fund, so they're happy to play along. Sport shooters apparently don't buy nearly as many accessories as hunters (hmmmm, could it be that we're not offered nearly as many accesories?). Politicians like the idea that the current initiative allows them to have it both; anti-gun.

Again — and I can't say this enough times — there would be nothing wrong with the initiavies to expand hunting opportunities if the industry would at least throw a bone to the rest of the shooting sports.


Anonymous said...

It's always been about the money. I once argued that it would be nice to see hunters boycott hunting one year just to demonstrate to the government (state and federal)exactly how much money the hunters (and shooters) were providing to the various wildlife programs.

Also, shooters at large, hunters and others, have been remiss in not insisting on more range development. Groups of shooters and hunters tend to be more independently minded than general society and don't make enough noise to have city, county, state and federal lands and facilities made available.

I was totally unfamiliar with governement owned and run facilities until my first trip to Arizona and the Black Canyon (Ben Avery) range. More such as this are needed - yor tax dollars at work.

The politicians cry about guns, but they do nothing to ensure gun owners have safe places to shoot.

Much to be done to turn things around, but gun owners, because of the earlier mentioned independence tend to find it hard to work together. Also, since gun owners seem to spend more time living life, they often simply do not know what funding or programs may be available.

In my estimation, ranges are a real key to the future. Build it and they will come...

Take care.


Jim Shepherd said...

I have a piece on The Monitor article in Thursday's edition of The Outdoor Wire ( - click on the date). I wasn't nearly as gracious as you - my column ends with my personal opinion that the NSSF would be better off spending their efforts on their constituents - shooters. It follows another announcement that NSSF is going to pee-away more of the shooting industry's money going after - you guessed it - shotgunners. This time the members of the Ruffed Grouse Society. I have not a darned thing against any of the sport hunting/shooting groups, but were I a firearms manufacturer who didn't specialize in shotguns, I'd be darned hard pressed to see my money as anything but tossed down a rat hole with NSSF.
Earlier this week I learned one of the reasons NSSF is so out-of-tune with today's shooting world is the fact an unnamed leader is virtually an illiterate when it comes to electronic communications. No Palm Pilot (although I detest them, Blackberries and all the other gadgetry I know you love), no notebook computer when he travels and apparently "his Miss Brooks" still prints out his emails for him to read - after she deletes the ones she things "aren't important or would irritate him".
The shooting industry is going to be extinct as the wooly mammoth if it doesn't either revolt against the 1950s thinking that says "only hunters shooot guns" or force the Vanderbilts, Whitneys and Carnegies out of the decision-making positions. Otherwise, we'll have to hope that we can keep our firearms and some limited access to shooting facilities (like Ben Avery and a very few others - they've already closed the WMA range(s) in my area) until enough of the dino-leaders either die off or retire.

Anonymous said...

Doesn't NSSF have some handgun guys on staff? Aren't there some shooters there who know the different sports? They can't all be hunting weenys. Can they?

Michael Bane said...


I was the handgun guy!

Later, when Paul Erhardt started working with me in the Media Program, he became fascinated with handguns and got a World Class education from the Media Program instructors. Paul's now the marketing guy at SIGARMS and has done a bang-up job there.

Gary Mehalik, who had been the marketing guy at Taurus, was bought on-board to handle media. He recently resigned (my little cherubs tell me that "under pressure" should follow "recently resigned," but Mehalik won't confirm that).

Scott Moore, the brilliant program director who spearheaded the Great Outdoor Games and the Scholastic Clays Target Program, had managed a gun store in Nashville and has probably as many handguns and many more long guns that I do. Scott recently resigned.

What can I say?


Anonymous said...

Why can't NSSF keep people? I have not met any of them but some of these names I have read or heard about and each knows/knew their stuff. Why would the handgun manufacturers let their trade association lose handgun experts from their staff? Don't they care what goes on at NSSF?

Anonymous said...

Maybe it's time for a new organization that cares about handguns and members that make and use them. NSSF is fighting a losing battle on hunting and we can't afford to wait around for them to lose that battle in time for them to lose our battle.

Anonymous said...

A new organization would be great.

Anonymous said...

Mr. Bane,

How come the groups like SASS, IDPA, IPSC and others band together to organize their own efforts outside of the National Shotgun Sports Foundation? NSSF doesn't seem to be doing too much for them so why should they do anything for NSSF?

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