The state of Michigan is looking at ways to reverse a slow but steady decline in hunter numbers, including a proposal to eliminate the minimum hunting age.
From this story in the Traverse City Record-Eagle:
The number of hunters in Michigan is gradually decreasing, so officials and advocates are aiming to increase state-license sales this season. The economy, limited hunting land, urbanization and age restrictions are to blame, the advocates say. To help reverse the trend, Michigan received a $500,000 federal grant to give farmers an incentive to increase access to hunting land, and advocates are proposing a bill to eliminate the minimum hunting age. License sales have been shrinking about 1 to 2 percent a year, said Mary Dettloff, spokeswoman for the Department of Natural Resources and Environment.
“…Dave Nyberg, a lobbyist with the Michigan United Conservation Clubs, said for every 100 adults who no longer hunt, there are only 26 replacements. “Youth are gobbled up by busy schedules and the media buffet that’s at their disposal,” he said. “This is a national problem, not just a Michigan problem.” Michigan recently lowered the minimum age for bow hunting from 12 to 10 years, and for firearm hunting from 14 to 12, but MUCC plans to propose legislation to eliminate the hunting age, though it would require adults to accompany young hunters. “It’s defined to improve youth hunting safety but also designed to improve hunter recruitment,” Nyberg said. “Michigan is one of the most restrictive states when it comes to getting kids outdoors to hunt.” He said Pennsylvania adopted a similar law and saw licensed hunters jump from about 33,000 to almost 44,000. “Hunter decline isn’t something that isn’t going on throughout the country,” Nyberg said. “In Michigan we believe one of the main factors is the restrictive laws.”
Your thoughts? Does your state have a minimum hunting age? If so, do you think it helps or hinders?_