Whither the Love of Hunting? Explaining the Decline of a Major Form of Rural Recreation as a Consequence of the Rise of Virtual Entertainment and Urbanism

Short Description

Participation in the sport of hunting is on a dramatic decline (Jonsson, 2003; Pergams & Zaradic, 2006, 2008; Urbina, 2008; Winkler, Huck, & Warnke, 2008). The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's latest available national survey (2006) found that the number of active hunters declined 11% between 1991 and 2006, and that this decline is nationwide and acute in some states. For example, active hunters in Illinois and California declined by more than half between 1991 and 2006 while West Virginia, Colorado, Kentucky, Arizona, and Utah's fell over a third in the same time period (USFWS, 1991, 2006). The nationwide annual sum of paying hunting license holders has decreased almost every year since the early 1980s; annual license purchases fell from under 12 per 100 persons in the late 1970s to less than 9 per 100 in 2003—a decline of approximately 25% (USFWS, 2008). Several individual state agencies are reporting very recent declines in license purchases: California and New Jersey report decreases in license purchases between 2000 and 2010 (California Department of Fish and Game, 2011; New Jersey Division of Fish and Wildlife, 2011). Evidence from the General Social Survey similarly demonstrates that there has been a decrease in respondents' saying “yes” when asked if they, their spouse, or both ever hunted. The percent of those individuals indicating hunting participation fell from a high of over 29% at the first wave of the survey (1972) to a low of under 17% in the last (2006)—a near halving of the participation rate over a 35-year time frame (Davis, Smith, & Marsden, 2009). In short, the evidence clearly indicates a general downward trend in the sport of hunting.

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Suggested Citation

Robison, Kristopher K., and Daniel Ridenour. "Whither the Love of Hunting? Explaining the Decline of a Major Form of Rural Recreation as a Consequence of the Rise of Virtual Entertainment and Urbanism."Human Dimensions of Wildlife: An International Journal 17.6 (2012): 418-436