How Do We Stop the Decline in Hunting?

How Do We Stop the Decline in Hunting?

It is no secret the number of hunters has been decreasing over the decades.  There are numerous reasons for the decline. Access to hunting land is one of the biggest challenges. Cost and time are other issues.

For example, all across the nation hunting leases are being sold to developers.  As urban populations swell, hunting land that use to be just outside the city limits, is now a developed neighborhood.  Due to this, people have to drive further to hunt.

In the November 2017 issue of Shooting Illustrated, on page 14, there is an article that states: “We must stop the decline in hunting.”  The piece was authored by Pete R. Brownell.

Mr. Brownell talks about how the decline in hunting is partially due to organizations such as People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), and the Humane Society of the United States HSUS).

I feel Mr. Brownell is not even close to hitting the target.  One of the biggest issues with hunting is the cost.

Every year I buy a resident combo hunting, fishing, salt water and public hunting lands license.  The cost of this license runs around $100.

For a little over a decade, my dad, brother and I were on a hunting lease.  Every year the cost of the hunting lease went up around $50.  The year we got off the lease, each of us paid $1,150.  The following year, the cost was going to be around $1,200.

Timber companies know people will pay to have access to land.  Since the goal of the company is to make a profit, they are squeezing hunters for every penny they can get.  While I was on the hunting lease, I saw many local people leave because of cost.  They were replaced with high income earners, such as lawyers, who lived a hundred miles away.

Then there is the cost of driving back and forth to the lease.  Some hunting leases require members to check on their area several times a year.  One guy I use to work with, it was a six hour drive to his hunting lease.  The lease required him to drive out there, check on his part, then drive home.  Due to the distance, this took a whole weekend.  He was only on the lease for a couple of years.

In a few more years, access to hunting leases will be a luxury reserved for the wealthy.  Everyday working class people have enough problems paying their bills, much less forking out well over $1,000 to be on a hunting lease, and for their hunting license.

What about public hunting lands?  The public hunting lands in my area do not allow camping during hunting season.  People from out of town will have to find somewhere to stay just so they can hunt on public lands.

There are some places on the Angelina River near Jasper, Texas where people can camp that are on public hunting lands.  However, those camp sites are only accessible by boat.


I do not know what the solution is.

One thing that would help is if public hunting lands had camping areas.  This would allow people to go on multi-day hunts deep into the public hunting lands.  As it stands right now, the public hunting lands in Texas are walk-in only.

Timber companies usually get big tax breaks from the state.  Why not pressure the state to end the tax breaks if timber companies charge more than a certain amount for hunting leases?

Why should tax payers subsidize timber companies, and then have to pay some extravagant amount of money to hunt on timber company land?  It is a win-win for the timber company.

Regardless of what direction we go, it seems the deck is stacked against hunters.

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October 27, 2017 at 10:57AM


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