Friday, November 02, 2012

Fewer hunters than ever, but still spending plenty

Fewer of us are hunters than ever before. Maybe that explains why there are more white-tailed deer in the United States now than ever before. And yet, notes Tim Heffernan in this month's Atlantic magazine, "The average American hunter now spends nearly $2,500 a year on the sport, despite the fact that finding a deer to kill has literally never been easier."

Heffernan reports that, yes, something like 30 million white-tailed deer roam America, most of them east of the Rockies. In some areas, that makes them thick as ticks, with up to 100 deer per square mile. Still, with  fewer than 14 million Americans toting a gun with intent to kill a deer and those that do getting older by the day, they are, nonethless, way past ready. And then some, with everything from a good shotgun to chemical weapons to infra-red lasers. Heffernan reports that one of the largest of the mega-outfitters, Cabela’s, saw its annual sales in hunting arsenal gear grow from $500 million in the late 1990s to $2.8 billion today with items on its shelves that include doe urine -- taken while in heat -- to riflescopes and rangers that have "resolution beyond current military standards." (Read more)

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