I have written numerous times that no matter how many battles we face with hunters, they have already lost the war; due to the massive decline in their numbers, there will be no hunters in the coming years.
The federal government keeps track of the numbers of hunters in each state. And thanks to a revamped US Fish and Wildlife site, I can now show you this decline in actual numbers. (You can find the number of hunters in New Jersey (and every state) from the years 1958 to 2003 at the US Fish and Wildlife site here: http://wsfrprograms .fws.gov/ Subpages/ LicenseInfo/ Hunting.htm)
I break down the numbers in ten year increments, starting in 1973.
In 1973, there were 187,249 "paid license holders" in New Jersey.
In 1983, there were 131,086
In 1993 there were 118,736
In 2003 there were 81,501
In 30 years, 100,000 hunters either passed away or stopped hunting. This is a stunning loss and one that is unrecoverable. NJ used to sell hunting licenses to minors, but because there were so few kids hunting, they just let them do it for free now.
What does this mean? With almost no children hunting, there is no next generation of hunters coming to replace those that are gone. Hunting, and hunters, are truly racing toward extinction. And the decline continues unabated: A more recent study done by the Congressional Sportsmen Foundation lists the number of hunters at 72,000.
That means in just the last few years, 9,500 hunters have disappeared.
Keep this inevitability in mind when you feel weighed down by the violence and cruelty enacted by hunters. There will come a day, and not too far away, when our children look back upon this plague of animal cruelty and shake their heads in disbelief that ever such a thing as hunting happened.
Director, Animal Protection PAC