FERNANDINA BEACH, Fla. — Adult sportsmen and women reported an impressive level of mentoring to young hunters on a recent HunterSurvey.com study commissioned by the National Shooting Sports Foundation.
More than 77 percent of active hunters and target shooters indicated they had taken their sons and daughters hunting. Even adults without a child or stepchild got into the act, with 56 percent of them reporting they also took a young person hunting.
"The information collected from this and other research projects will prove valuable in determining how hunters first entered the sport and what youth projects can be initiated to help increase participation in hunting and shooting sports in the future," said Jim Curcuruto, NSSF's director of research and analysis. "The National Shooting Sports Foundation is proud to partner with Southwick Associates on research projects such as this."
The poll also shows 83.4 percent of young people were introduced to hunting, even if they didn't carry a firearm or bow, before they turned 13 years old, which is a critical factor in ensuring the next generation will be avid, lifelong hunters.
The average age of the mentor was 38, according to a concurrent study conducted by the NSSF. A majority of adult hunters, 61.7 percent, first introduce a young person to hunting when they are between the ages of 30 and 45. Mentoring is an important component not only for recruiting new hunters but for ensuring experienced sportsmen and women continue spending time afield.
The majority of adult hunters, 55.3 percent, reported they took young men hunting while 10.1 percent said they mentored young females, according to HunterSurvey.com. More than 34 percent of hunters reported they mentored both sexes, though, which increases the percentage of adult hunters mentoring males into hunting to 72.6 percent while adults mentoring young women rises to 27.4 percent.
With 10.3 million big game hunters in the United States according to the 2006 National Survey of Hunting, Fishing and Wildlife Associated Recreation, it's no surprise HunterSurvey.com showed deer were the most popular game species pursued during a young person's first hunt.
Nearly 56 percent of youth deer hunted with an adult mentor on their first hunt, though the second most popular hunt was for small game with 40.7 percent participation. Upland hunting ranked third at 16.7 percent and wild turkey a distant fourth at 12.8 percent.
Those who hunt, fish and target shoot are invited to participate in www.huntersurvey.com and www.anglersurvey.com. By completing the survey, you will be entered in a monthly drawing for one of five $100 gift certificates to the sporting goods retailer of your choice.