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Due to the recent questions Ive heard regarding our numbers and the possible decline, I looked into New Jerseys license sales, and this is what I came up with. Please read.:)

Is bow-hunting on a downward spiral in New Jersey?

According to license sales over the past 20 plus years, yes it is. Garden State hunters taking to the woods with bow and arrow in hand, have been steadily declining since the mid nineties. In 1993 50,804 archers purchased hunting licenses, while in 2003, that number plummeted to only 35,923*. *(youth license sales were not given, so I added 1000 to this number, as an average from years past)


This shows a 29.2% decrease from 1993 to 2003. Though there was a booming rise in the mid eighties to mid ninties, where bow and arrow hunting gained popularity in the garden state. One could say that this rise causes the decrease to seem more drastic than it is. However, from 1983 to 2003, the amount of archery licenses sold still decreased by 16.8%.

What happened to those hunters who caused the rise in popularity? Its hard to say, perhaps they wanted an extra tag and took up bowhunting for it. Soon realizing the difficulty of hunting with stick and string, and giving it up. Perhaps game management, cost of equipment and such have caused them to leave the sport. Maybe the boom itself detered some, taking to the fields when numbers were at an all time high, and finding it too crowded. Whatever the reason, bowhunting licenses have slowly dipped across the board.

Does this spell disaster for bowhunting in New Jersey? I certainly hope not, I have been carrying a bow through the New Jersey woods for fifteen years, and I hope to carry it with me for about fifty more. To ensure the future of this wonderful disipline, we have to let our voices be heard, and recruit youth into our ranks. Standing up for what we believe in and know is necessary. Regain strength in our numbers by taking young people under our wing, and showing them, teaching them, nurturing them. Allowing them to become a part of the family and rich traditions that only bowhunters know.

The children really are our future. Of all the numbers, youths are the most important. They are the future of this sport, without them, bowhunting will simply fade away. Unfortunately, youth numbers have been on a gradual decline since 1994. Decreasing by 9% from 1993 to 2003. While this number isnt quite as alarming as the other percentages. It is when you take into consideration; Not only are we not replacing the amount of hunters we are losing, but we are losing the number of replacements gradually as well. This only has one outcome, dwindling numbers. Dwindling numbers can only mean less political clout, and eventually the doom of our disipline.

So what are we supposed to do? Well for starters, recruit youth into the sport. Introduce it to your children and their friends if allowed. Approach your local public school about incorporating an archery program for the children. Such as NASP, heres a link; http://www.nasparchery.com/activea.asp

Youth arent the only ones, introduce anyone you know that would represent us in a positive light to the outdoors. Your neighbor, a co-worker, or one of your in-laws, if they are the type person you want representing us, than why not invite them along sometime. If they arent accustomed to the outdoors at all, start off slow, with fishing, or shed antler hunting, or even archery. Focus on the fun, and brotherhood aspects. Not concentrating on how many or how big the catch. Show them that happiness doesnt come from the results, but from the path leading there, and the friendships formed along the way. Teach them about the nature, and how hunting is vital to keeping all wildlife populations in balance, and how harvesting certain animals can help to restore habitat.

If you dont know how to begin introducing someone to the sport, you can also help by simply being kind to your fellow bowhunters! We dont want to drive people out. As our numbers decrease, we must meld closer together, and form a bond so close that nothing could break it apart.

So take a child, or other newcomer with you next time you visit the outdoors, you never can tell, you may be planting the seed for our future generation of outdoorsmen and women!

Have a good one---Matt
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Thank you BHC!:)
 

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Did this survey take into account the all around sportsman license? If you are a gun hunter, bow hunter, and you fresh water fish, its a better deal to buy the all around sportsman. It took me a year to figure this out. It might explain the drop in the archery license drop off. Just a thought.

The way they charge you for everything in NJ, you have to try and save every penny. Shame.
 

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Did this survey take into account the all around sportsman license?
Yes it did. There were 34,923 bowhunters last year, All-Arounds included.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Very nice Matty! One question... Do you ever sleep?
Yes, I get a good solid 1 or 2 hours a night.:D
No, actually I quit my job last year, and Im trying to get into Law Enforcement, passed the Civil Service test, and Im waiting for a job offer. In the meantime, I have more time to spend on important stuff like the future of bowhunting. I get plenty of sleep, maybe too much!:D

Sometimes I wonder if I want to be a cop for sure, because after spending almost every minute of every day thinking about and doing something that relates to bowhunting. I would love to have a career that has to do with that. Maybe wildlife biology, or an outdoor videographer, or an outdoor writer....Im not sure, and I know those are mainly pipe dreams, but man it would be great!


As for the numbers, Bac's has it right. I myself buy the AASport. I couldnt forget about it!;)

The youth and senior numbers are most confusing to figure, because they were combined, and then separated, and combined, and finally just separate, but without listing the amount of youth for the last few years! Its safe to say, we get about 900-1300 youths a year though. I just hope that number doesnt continue to decline.

I have a 9 year old brother that doesnt want anything to do with bows, but loves fishing and wants to shotgun hunt. Im working on him though...I bought a Parker Genesis pro bow for anyone, including him, to use. This way I can introduce others to shooting bows. So far all he will do is draw it back....doesnt even want to shoot it. [confused].....I think hes just being defiant..Im not gonna force him...Im sure it will catch on when he gets a bit older.:)

Thanks for the kind words all, and I wouldnt know how to get it published, but if you really like it, and think it would do good for the sport, p [no swearing please] it around and let people realize, they have to worry about the future first and foremost! Without it, we might as well hang up our bows and stay home!:(
 

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I think part of the problem lies with video games as far as the kids go! Look at the ball fields and basket ball courts- all empty! We all have got to introduce our kids , nephews & nieces to the outdoors if we are to save our sport!!
 
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