APRIL 26, 2021
 
 
 

LETTER FROM THE EDITOR

Spring is in full swing across the United States with new and experienced hunters chasing turkeys, black bears, and other critters. I’ll admit, I’ve caught the turkey-hunting bug and can’t get enough of the elusive gobblers here in Virginia. Several close calls have me hooked as I continue to chase these birds throughout Virginia. My next big hunt will be for Black Bear in Maine as I return to visit House in the Woods in August. Every hunt is a lifetime memory, but what the team at House in the Woods does for military veterans is powerful, impactful, and inspiring. I’m well aware of many hunting industry efforts to help military veterans, law enforcement officers, and other first responders and all of them are a testimony to the amazing, selfless, and patriotic people who make up our hunting and shooting community.  As a veteran, I can tell you every effort by anyone is appreciated. As always, thank you for your support and feedback about The Hunting Wire, Jay Pinsky jay@theoutdoorwire.com

By Jim Curcuruto, Outdoor Industry Consultant

It is rare when a topic, any topic, can capture an audience’s attention for more than 48 hours in today’s non-stop news media overload world. When a storyline makes it past a week, you know it has hit a nerve, and that’s the case with the subject of this article. Below is a synapsis for reference that leads up to this point.

On March 24, 2021, MeatEater.com posted an article written by Matt Rinella entitled; The Case Against Hunter Recruitment. The article seemed to negatively portray the movement to increase hunter participation with the author noting that R3 is a “widespread and well-funded” effort full of “slick marketing campaigns” that are a coordinated effort to increase hunter numbers by recruiting new, reactivating lapsed, and retaining current hunters. The author pointed out that the basis of R3 was flawed in that it was created as a response to large declines in hunter numbers when in fact, according to his analysis, the declines are not as bad as many may think due to inaccuracies in available data such as statistics in USFWS National Survey reports. What seemed to strike a nerve with many was the authors notion that current hunters, like him, do not want more hunters in the woods as these newbies will end up taking all “their” favorite hunting spots.

Response to the article was swift and came with a heavy hand from sources new and old. On March 26th, both Outdoor Life and Hunters of Color posted rebuttals.

Founded less than a year ago, in August of 2020, Hunters of Color has a mission to share the founders love of the outdoors with everyone. Their response was well thought out and their disappointment with the MeatEater article was apparent. They pointed out that simply posting such an article from a leading organization in the hunting world gives some current hunters justification to oppose recruitment of new hunters, especially black and indigenous people of color (BIPOC) that are interested in learning to hunt. They noted that, “Matt’s ignorance of barriers for BIPOC is especially evident in his call for people to just learn how to hunt from their friends and family” and that “many people of color do not have families that hunt and rely solely on mentorships”. Their article concluded with suggested responses for MeatEater along with an invitation for MeatEater to take a seat at the table they are building and reminded them that “the outdoors are for everyone.”

Outdoor Life’s response was a coordinated effort from four of their top editors, each taking issue with Matt’s criticism of R3. Andrew McKean led the article by noting that he had personally noticed more hunters this past season in “his” prairie but, rather than get annoyed, it pushed him to hike further and find new places he hadn’t been inspired to hunt previously. The result was tagging a nice mule deer and locating a new hunting spot for future seasons. Alex Robinson noted that the R3 movement is attempting to open hunting to more diverse groups in ways that have not been tried before and that he views other hunters not as competition but as kindred spirits. John Snow recalled as he has gotten older, he has realized that the future of outdoor sports that he loves hinges on having lots of other people participating in them and Gerry Bethge admitted that the decline in hunters where he goes afield has yielded better hunting for him but even so he ended the article with a reminder to take someone new outdoors as it could change both their life, and yours, for the better.

A few years ago, the Council to Advance Hunting and the Shooting Sports created an online community with the hope of having a few hundred professionals create accounts and share ideas on everything R3 related. Today there are nearly 3,000 members of that community and interest continues to grow. Typical posts within the community may garner a few likes and reply’s but on March 29th a community member mentioned his disappointment with the initial MeatEater article. This prompted several other community members to chime in and a cordial discussion ensured that represented both sides of the topic. Hearing different points of view allowed other members, like myself, to think about potential pitfalls of R3 that hadn’t previously been discussed.

On March 31st, in what I can imagine was an “Oh Shit” moment, Steven Rinella penned a response to help clarify a few points in his brother’s initial post. Steven made reference to all the positive recruitment work done by himself and many of MeatEater staff. It is undeniably true that they have done a lot of good work promoting hunting to new audiences which I believe is what made so many R3 folks scratch their heads at the original post. Steven closed the article noting that “he’ll continue to share challenging opinions that inspire tough conversations – all for the betterment of the outdoors and the people who go there to work and play.”

The saga continued on April 14th when the NRA Hunters’ Leadership Forum posted an article that summed up most of the above but added that NRA has been a staunch supporter of R3 and has led the way promoting cultural acceptance of hunting for the past 150 years.

The Hunting Wire’s Voice of Leadership Panel (VoLP) is tasked with including an article in each edition of the Hunting Wire newsletter. Over the past year, VoLP authors have written articles on everything from cyber bullying to conservation and usually topic discussions take no more than a few minutes to approve. When we last met, the discussion around Matt’s article and the corresponding responses took us 45 minutes to discuss. Even within our small group, we had differing opinions on everything from; should we respond, to, if we do respond, how should we do it.

With the posting of this article, it is obvious that we felt a response was warranted. We understand Matt is not alone with his opinion but, as many of us have dedicated a good percentage of our time over the past few years to R3, we wanted to add a few perspectives to what has already been covered:

  • We appreciate MeatEater posting articles that facilitate discussion and feel it is healthy to consider opposing views that will lead to broader solutions.
  • Several authors made reference to inaccuracies in current hunter participation data. This is very much justified and bad data is a cause for much of the confusion surrounding this topic. It is important to note that R3 professionals are the ones working to correct this issue and have already put in place a data dashboard that will provide more accurate data moving forward.
  • R3 is not about have someone in your hunting spot today but making sure your spot is still available for someone to hunt in 50 years when you have long since hung up your hunting boots.
  • Most R3 professionals are tasked with increasing participation in recreational target shooting, fishing and boating as well as hunting.
  • R3 seeks to balance the demographics of hunter participation.
  • State agency biologists have done a tremendous job managing wildlife populations to near record highs. A need exists for R3 staff to manage hunter populations to best fit an areas resource.
  • USFWS recently opened up millions of acres for hunting. R3 staff are leading the effort to communicate these, and other opportunities to access quality hunting lands.
  • Increases in excise tax funds over the past decade allow state wildlife agencies to continue to conduct wildlife research, purchase land and manage habitat while allowing for R3 program development.

We look forward to further discussions on this topic to ensure current R3 efforts are working to suit the needs of current and future participants.

 

2020-2021 The Hunting Wire Voice of Leadership Panel

The Voice of Leadership Panel is an appointed five-person group of outdoor industry leaders who have volunteered to contribute their voices on key hunting and outdoor recreation issues to inform, inspire, and educate participants within our community.

  • Jim Curcuruto, Hunting and Firearms Industry Consultant
  • Mandy Harling, National Director of Hunting Heritage Programs, National Wild Turkey Federation
  • Jenifer Wisniewski, Chief, Outreach and Communication, Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency
  • Joel Brice, Vice President, Waterfowl & Hunter Recruitment Programs, Delta Waterfowl
  • Cyrus Baird, Manager of Government Relations, Safari Club International

Facilitators:

  • James “Jay” Pinsky, Editor, The Hunting Wire
  • Peter Churchbourne, Director, NRA Hunter Leadership Forum

FEATURED STATE AGENCY

Each month The Hunting Wire highlights one of America’s state-run wildlife management agencies to enhance the ongoing education and awareness campaigns of each state. The United States bases its hunting and conservation programs on what is known as the North American Model of Wildlife Conservation. While often geographically unique, all state programs align with the North American Model of Wildlife Conservation, and offer news, information, and resources which can benefit American hunters.

The Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources' mission is to conserve, protect and enhance Kentucky's fish and wildlife resources and provide outstanding opportunities for hunting, fishing, trapping, boating, shooting sports, wildlife viewing, and related activities.

RECRUITMENT, RETENTION AND REACTIVATION (R3): Kentucky’s Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources website offers a wide variety of news, information, education, and awareness. One key area featured on the website is for new hunters. To learn more, click here.

CONSERVATION & EDUCATION:  Kentucky has one of the easiest and most useful education sections I’ve seen for a state-run fish and wildlife agency. Click here to learn more.

Welcome to Mossberg's new series, "Spring Collective", which will follow a hardcore group of northeastern turkey hunters as they travel to several eastern states, showcasing the turkey hunting diversity the region has to offer. The group will document their journey while sharing the tips, tactics, and strategies that allow them to be successful hunting both public and private land.

VIDEO: Hunting Turkeys Off the Roost | Taking Kids Hunting

It is finally time to hunt in the Northeast! Brett Joy and Jon Lewis both take out kids for the youth season opener. These two awesome hunts are prime examples of how to hunt turkeys off the roost. Taking kids out hunting is important for the future of our hunting culture and sharing the love for the sport!

By Larry Weishuhn and Luke Clayton

Luke Clayton and Larry Weishuhn

Radio File: Hunting Wire Radio - Episode 23

A collection of bowhunting training videos and written content on how to help you become a better bowhunter.

By Easton Bowhunting

Video: Get Them Started Early - Bowhunter Base Camp

Brad Fenson teaches some of the more adorable bowhunters how to shoot an arrow.

HUNTING NEWS & INFORMATION

Victory Archery is proud to announce they’ve added to their impressive lineup of professional hunters with the team at Red Arrow. For years, Victory has been producing the world’s most accurate arrows and now they’re excited to announce that Kip Campbell and the team at Red Arrow TV will be shooting Victory Archery arrows this year.

Any new Leica Sport Optics product purchase now includes a best-in-class warranty and product protection plan. The ground-breaking new Leica Passport Warranty is completely free and includes a fully transferrable no-questions, no-fault, 10-year accidental damage cover plan and a 30-year manufacturer’s defect warranty, neither of which require a warranty card or receipt.

MoJack, maker of safe and easy lawn mower lifts with patented technology, is proud to announce the launch of an affiliate marketing program. Residential and commercial lawn care enthusiasts have benefitted from MoJack’s innovative lift system for years as the quickest, most convenient way to access the underside of their equipment. Now the team at MoJack is excited to engage with customers and users in a unique new way through an affiliate marketing program.

Many rifle hunters understand the challenge of hunting in extreme cold weather. Whether it’s a late season deer tag you’re aiming to fill, picking off pesky coyotes looking for a winter meal, or mother nature simply does her thing and throws you a wet, cold, snowy curveball, hunting in cold weather can be a real challenge. That’s why Better The Hunt set out to help hunters find a new way to fight off the cold. Enjoying late-season hunts without pain or discomfort from the cold is now a possibility for rifle hunters thanks to the Insulated Rifle Mitt from Better The Hunt. This innovative product gives rifle hunters an exciting option for keeping their hands nice and comfortable on those long, cold, late season hunts.

Cold Steel, manufacturer and innovator of purpose-built knives and blade tools for everyday carry, tactical, and hunting applications, expands its Double Safe Hunter line of folding lockbacks with three available colors—camo, orange, and green.Experienced hunters favor compact lockbacks for their precise control, strength, and convenient storage in daypacks and accessory pockets.

Bear & Son Cutlery, manufacturer of premium Alabama knives, expands the popular family of compact and full-size Aluminum Slip-Joint Folders with the addition of a new color.Designed to fit conveniently in pockets, purses, or even to be added to a key chain, the Bear & Son Aluminum Slip-Joint Folders come in a variety of fashionable colors.

UrgeMedia is proud to announce its renewed partnership with Huntstand, helping them to reach all varieties of outdoor enthusiast with television placements, influencer marketing, and other digital marketing efforts through UrgeMedia’s marketing platform.HuntStand, with millions of downloads, is the #1 hunting app in the world and is the only hunting- and land-management app you will ever need.

Primary Arms Optics has released a brand-new reticle option for their popular GLx 2x Prism Scope: the ACSS Gemini. Designed for 9mm carbines and AR pistols, the ACSS Gemini reticle incorporates all the advanced features of ACSS and adapts it for a PCC format. At $369.99, the Primary Arms GLx 2x Prism with ACSS Gemini 9mm Reticle [MPN:710050] is certain to be a top choice for those seeking an innovative CQB optic for their pistol-caliber carbine.

The Spirit of Blue Foundation is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization dedicated to enhancing officer safety and vitality throughout the law enforcement community. EOTECH®, the leading manufacturer of holographic weapon sights and premium Vudu® riflescopes, is pleased to renew its financial support of the Spirit of Blue Foundation and its fundraising goals. In doing so, EOTECH honors the courageous men and women who put their lives on the line as they protect and serve our communities.

While long-range shooters can and do spend impressive amounts of money on their shooting rigs, there are some real bargains available on products that can make shooting easier and more effective.

Shoot Like A Girl is taking the Home of the Brave Tour to Cabela's in Wichita, KS this weekend, April 24 and 25. Both new and seasoned shooters are invited to join Shoot Like A Girl at the state-of-the-art mobile shooting range for this free, interactive event. Certified female instructors will be on-site to share their extensive knowledge of firearms, shooting sports and safety with guests. The Shoot Like A Girl trailer will be open in front of Cabela’s on Saturday, April 24 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sunday, April 25 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sign in on Sunday ends at 3:30 p.m.

Springfield Armory® is proud to announce the newest addition to the popular XD-M® Elite series — the XD-M® Elite 3.8" Compact OSP™.This EDC-ready 9mm, like all the XD-M Elites, redefines what you should expect from modern, striker-fired firearms.

When it comes to having multiple pistols that need the same levels of protection Plano has everyone covered. The interior has more than enough room for large frame revolvers, full size pistols, cameras, video equipment, or any sort of gear you can fit. From a single pistol to multiple cameras and lenses, there is an AW2 size to suit all needs. As with all Plano products the AW2™ is made in the USA.

Made in the USA specifically for SIG SAUER customers, Mitch Rosen premium hand-made leather holsters offer the finest combination of security, durability and comfort. Choose from multiple sizes and colors for carrying inside and outside the waistband.

What’s the Founder Speaker Series you might ask? Well, it’s a 12-week immersive experience designed to entertain, educate, and inspire you to bring your business idea to life. You will get live sessions with company founders and some of the biggest names from the hunting industry, like Brian Call (Gritty Bowmen), Kendall Card (Black Ovis & Camofire), Chis Denham (Western Hunter), Lorenzo Sartini (go Hunt), and of course Brandon Waddell (Mountain Archery Fest & Wilderness Attitude Podcast). There are limited online seats available for this exclusive event. So, if you want to be the first to know you can register here and get notified when registration opens.

The National Deer Association (NDA) has announced a new and exciting Deer Steward Module scheduled for June 11-12, 2021 in Unionville, Missouri. The Module, sponsored by onX, will feature habitat experts from Land & Legacy and will benefit new and veteran landowners alike by allowing attendees to learn how to gain a comprehensive understanding of a property’s current habitat composition, develop lists of strengths and weaknesses and to ensure work begins in the right direction. Each attendee will receive a one-year Elite membership to onX Hunt.

The May 2021 issue of Shooting Illustrated is loaded with great content for shooters, including the 2021 Gun Guide, which showcases 60 new firearms from around the industry. Among new firearms, we take a look at categories including new handguns, long rifles, shotguns, and AR-type rifles released this year from a wide range of manufacturers. Whether you’re looking for a new optics-ready micro 9 mm or a tack-driving bolt gun, we’ve got the scoop on the hottest new guns to hit the scene in 2021.

 
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