The Future of Hunting – Do You Really Give A Damn?

Whitetail deer in a field

I don’t remember when it started – maybe when I was 13 or so – but I used to have this fear that I wasn’t going to get my driver’s license.  It wasn’t that I thought that I wouldn’t pass the test…no, I thought that I would never get my driver’s license.  (You can image how upsetting this would be to a boy of that age!)  I don’t know if I thought the world was going to end, or I was going to die before I turned 16 – I’m not sure what I was thinking really.

Looking back, this was obviously a very silly moment in my life.  My fear was incredibly irrational, but it was genuine.

I thought of this irrational fear the other day as I was sitting in my treestand during an evening hunt.  I was thinking about the future and wondering what hunting may look like in 20, 30, or 40 years.  Would I still be hunting?  Would I be able to raise my kids in a world where they could hunt?  Is it an immature, irrational fear to think that hunting has seen its better days and that hunting, as we know it, may cease to exist in the not-too-distant future?

I don’t think the sky is falling.  In fact, I’m really encouraged by many great things happening right now in the areas of hunting and conservation.  There are some incredibly passionate people and dedicated organizations doing some amazing work to protect the future of hunting.  What worries me, though, is that so many hunters still seem to have such a shortsighted, individualistic view of things.

We spend our money, time, and energy focused on our hunting…on what affects us specifically, individually.  But we spend very little (if any!) money, time, or energy focused on the future of hunting as a whole.

The great conservation mind, Shane Mahoney, recently gave a wonderful speech at the Idaho Wildlife Summit.  (I highly recommend that you set aside 50 minutes of your time to watch the video below.  Seriously, make the time, come back here and do it!)  In his speech, Mahoney said something that gets to the heart of the issue…

I want people to ask me – to explain to them how it is I can [hunt] – and how it has made me who I am, and how it has made me do the things I do for wildlife.

I want them to ask me that.  And I want them to ask me, am I doing it humanely?

I am not afraid of people who have different viewpoints…but what I am desperately concerned about is the people who don’t care at all.

I would much sooner have a world filled with people who are so vitally concerned with wildlife that they fight all the time about it, than a world in which nobody gives a damn.

So the question to you is – do you really, truly “give a damn”?  If so, what are you doing about it?  How are you working to protect, strengthen, and ensure the future of hunting, not just for yourself, but for all?

Join me next week for a quick look at a few of the issues that are posing a threat to the future of hunting and some of the seemingly small, but significant things you can do about it.

Shane Mahoney at the Idaho Wildlife Summit

If you don’t see the video above, please watch it here.

The Author

Mark Huelsing is a regular guy with an irregular passion for bowhunting and the outdoors. Learn more about Sole Adventure or get in touch with Mark...

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  • Basement Bowhunter

    Great video and I could not agree more! We all need to do our part not only to ensure we pass down our hunting heritage but that we also leave places where we can hunt. There are a lot of great issues to be talked about from this video and I don’t think we talk about them enough as a hunting community and nonhunting community. Looking forward to more conversations on this topic.

  • Al Quackenbush

    I am going to have to make some time to watch that this weekend. Our CA gov just signed a bill outlawing the use of hounds for bear and bobcat. CA hunting is getting attacked.