Understanding the concerns of new adult hunters and anglers

sv6.jpgTruly “new” hunters and anglers, especially those that did not grow up in a hunting or fishing family, are certainly curious about hunting and fishing, but also may have some concerns. Most of these concerns deal with hunting, but some also involve fishing. These concerns include:

  • Apprehension about firearms – is likely the largest concern new adult hunters have. These apprehensions are largely based on a lack of skills or knowledge to operate a firearm safely and effectively, but they can also be based on incorrect information. In many situations, their primary information sources about firearms are the movies, the media or the Internet. In some situations, these apprehensions are based on long-held family attitudes.
  • Apprehension about killing an animal – is likely the next biggest concern of new adult hunters. Killing an animal is not a frivolous activity and it should not be considered in those terms.  Most people have never killed anything bigger than an insect, nor have ever observed an animal die. For most people, including hunters, killing an animal is a daunting moral dilemma. This is especially true for someone who has untested skills with firearms.  Obviously, the goal is that the animal is quickly dispatched in a humane manner so that it produces high quality food.
  • Killing an animal also extends to fishing – but to a lesser extent. However, fishing has two related issues: 1) unhooking a fish so they are not harmed, especially for fish that are going to be released; and 2) the on-the-water storage of fish that are going to be kept. Both issues address the quality of life of the fish after you have hooked it and before it is dispatched or cleaned.
  • Dealing with blood and processing deer and fish – are also the cause of some apprehension. Some people are very sensitive to the sight of blood. Other people are very apprehensive about “gutting” an animal. Both of these issues cannot be avoided if a person is going to obtain their own wild protein. Nonetheless, program staff will need to be prepared to assist participants working through these issues.

Most participants have at least mentally addressed these issues prior to registering for the class.  However, mentally addressing them and dealing with them in the real world may be entirely different.

Working through these apprehensions will require a willingness on the participant’s part to move well outside of their comfort zone as well as having an instructor who can coax them through their apprehensions in a respectful manner.  Discussing these issues, and teaching and demonstrating proper skills in the classroom will help ensure participants are properly prepared when they go in the field.  

Anti-hunting Prejudice

Often, potential participants have extensive experience in the outdoors, and actively participate in camping, backpacking, climbing, mountaineering, canoeing and/or kayaking. These participants just have not had the opportunity to hunt or fish. Many of the skills gained in these other outdoor experiences are easily transferred to hunting and fishing. 

However, harbored within some of these potential participants are stereotypical attitudes and beliefs about current hunters and anglers.

These stereotypical attitudes and beliefs may include:

  • Hunters/anglers just use hunting/fishing as an excuse to party with their friends
  • Hunters go in the woods, drink a lot of beer, tell stories, and shoot animals without using the meat
  • Hunters are careless with litter and fire
  • Anglers are careless with litter
  • Hunters/Anglers are only after sport or trophies

For all these reasons, it is critical that hunting/fishing and hunters/anglers are shown in a thoughtful and respectful manner and that instructors, partners and mentors all be well-spoken, considerate and professional.


The National Hunting & Shooting Action Plan - Second Content Draft (4/1/2016)

Participation in hunting and, until recently, the shooting sports has been steadily declining since the
1980s. The decline in these activities, which sustain a multi-billion-dollar industry and provide
the primary financial support for state-level wildlife conservation in the U.S., poses an everincreasing
threat to wildlife conservation. Early in the 20th century, sportsmen and -women, as well as
conservation leaders recognized the critical need for a significant and sustainable source of funding for
wildlife management.

Teaching ‘Adult Onset Hunters’

There’s a term I just learned today: “Adult Onset Hunting,” which makes it sound like something
bad, but I think it’s one of the better things to happen to hunting in a while. As I have written before
(On Hipsters and Hunting) the sport needs to broaden its appeal beyond its traditional rural
constituency if it’s to survive.

At any rate, I got to help a bunch of Adult Onset Hunters at a range day at my gun club last weekend.
This particular group of AOHs are members of a local program called “Edible Outdoors” which holds
classes in foraging, gathering, fishing and so on.

Want to Learn to Hunt? Start Now

During hunting season, I don't go a week without a reader emailing me asking some variant of this
question: I want to learn to hunt, or at least see if I want to, but I haven't the faintest idea how even
to start. Can you help?

But hunting season, which in America is, for the most part, late summer through late winter, is
precisely the wrong time to get started. If you want to hunt in 2010, you need to get started now.
I am sorry if you are reading this outside the United States, because I have no idea how to get
started hunting in other countries.


So you want to — or might want to — learn to hunt? That’s great! I applaud your curiosity and gumption. Getting to the point of even searching out information to learn to hunt is something that most Americans (or people in other developed nations if you aren’t American) will never do in their lifetime. We created Modern Hunters for you and the thousands of others just like you.

Teaching adults to hunt

The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources takes its share of flak from constituents, but the agency is on the right track with a program aimed at teaching adults how to hunt.

It's a great idea.

There's been considerable focus over the years on teaching kids how to hunt and be safe in the field—and justifiably so—but lost in the shuffle were adults who wanted to take up hunting but didn't know where to begin.

Without a parent or other adult mentor, learning to hunt is tough.

Interview with Jackson Landers, The Locavore Hunter

This is an interview with my buddy Jackson Landers, the Locavore Hunter. Interesting guy — raised vegetarian. And for longtime
readers, this is the guy who taught the deer hunting seminar I attended a year and a half ago. Jackson just released his new book, The Beginner’s Guide to Hunting Deer for Food. It teaches beginner’s what they need to know to start deer hunting. I highly recommend it: clearly written, comprehensive, and inexpensive. If you’re at all interested in learning how to hunt deer, this is the single best book I know of.

Hipsters Who Hunt

I think the evolution of the new lefty urban hunter goes something like this:
2006: Reads Michael Pollan's The Omivore's Dilemma, about the ickyness of the industrial food complex. Starts shopping at a farmers' market.
2008: Puts in own vegetable garden. Tries to go vegetarian but falls of the wagon.
2009: Decides to only eat "happy meat" that has been treated humanely.
2010: Gets a chicken coop and a flock of chickens.
2011: Dabbles in backyard butchery of chickens.