According to this story on newsleader.com, a study done over a three-year period found that the number of active hunters and sport shooters in Virginia fell 3.1 percent between 1999 and 2008. Other states experienced drops of more than 20 percent, like Massachusetts and Washington.
For 25 years, interest in hunting has been declining in Virginia. The number of hunting licenses issued annually is half what it was in 1974. Hunting licenses are down 1 percent to 2 percent every year, according to the state Department of Game and Inland Fisheries. The number of licenses decreased from 253,425 in 2009 to 245,185 in 2010, or 3.3 percent.
“Getting your kids into hunting is just not the value it used to be,” said Nelson W. Lafon, the state’s deer project coordinator.
A three-year nationwide study by Harrisonburg-based Responsive Management found the future of hunting is in question.
The research firm found the number of active hunters and sport shooters in Virginia fell 3.1 percent between 1999 and 2008. Other states, such as Massachusetts and Washington, experienced drops of more than 20 percent, although a handful of states, including Kentucky and Louisiana, are still experiencing growth.
Responsive Management’s study reached another conclusion: Declining participation in hunting is part of an overall trend of decreased participation in outdoor activities such as fishing, camping and hiking.
Hunting opponents are pleased with the dropping participation. People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, based in Norfolk, believes hunting is cruel and unnecessary, disturbs ecosystems and jeopardizes public safety. Three people have died and 29 others have been injured in gun-related hunting accidents in Virginia since July._