Before the weather turns uninviting and schedules fill up with holiday obligations, we remind experienced hunters and shooters that autumn is a great time of year to invite a newcomer, whether a youth or adult, to experience the rewards of hunting and target shooting. Being outdoors in the crisp air and enjoying the tapestry of colors only enhances our enjoyment of these activities. If that wasn't reason enough, here are 10 motivators to do so, based on recent surveys and studies.
• Build the Base
: Where will the next generation of sportsmen and women come from who will support our firearms, hunting and shooting freedoms? Of course, they will be the ones who you introduce to our sports today. Invite someone to hunt or target shoot.
• Top Factor
: More than 90 million U.S. adults 18 and over expressed at least some interest in participating in hunting or target shooting, according to polls. The top factor in getting them to participate was an invitation from a friend or family member.
• Peer Power
: Approximately 15 million youth who are not hunters or target shooters and are between the ages of 8 and 17 would consider giving these activities a try if asked by a peer, according to a recent study. Youth who are already in shooting programs should remember that their friends are waiting for an invitation to give shooting or hunting a try under adult supervision.
: Approximately three-quarters of youth and adults approve of hunting and target shooting, so it is not surprising that people are purchasing firearms and participating in the shooting sports in records numbers.
• Safer Than Golf
: Hunting is safer than golf and many other sporting activities, according to injury statistics. As for target shooting, accidents are extremely rare.
: Educate a new hunter that he or she can donate venison to charitable food outlets to help feed those in need. Hunter donations make possible about 11 million venison meals annually.
• Giving Back
: By purchasing firearms, ammunition and hunting licenses, sportsmen and women contribute more than $1 billion annually to protect wildlife and habitat and fund shooting range development. This funding mechanism has helped restore populations of species such as the Wild Turkey and White-tailed Deer that were struggling to survive 100 years ago.
• Elevate Ethics
: Firearms ownership and participation in both hunting and target shooting help youth and adults develop an ethical, responsible approach toward wildlife and wild places, and toward firearms.
• Did You Ever Consider
? With their newfound knowledge and perspective on hunting, target shooting and firearms ownership, newcomers can respond to misinformed statements about these topics at work and social gatherings with a simple, "Did you ever consider this?"
: Self-reliance is a core American value. Whether you learn to shoot for recreation, hunting or personal and home defense, you will have gained a new and valuable skill.
—courtesy National Shooting Sports Foundation