'Initiation rite' dying, some say
The Associated Press Posted on Sun, Nov. 27, 2005
ASHEVILLE, N.C. - The call of the wild may be getting drowned out
by the siren song of the video game.
That's the concern of hunters and wildlife officials in North
Carolina, where interest in the outdoor sport has dropped dramatically
in recent years.
Last year, 305,000 hunting licenses were sold, compared with more
than 450,000 licenses sold in 2000, the N.C. Wildlife Commission says.
The drop is mirrored across the country.
Why that's happening is unclear, though participants advanced some
theories at a symposium held by the commission last month.
Some suggested that urban sprawl and shrinking hunting lands could
be to blame, commission spokesman Brad Deen said.
Others cited a bigger problem: the lack of young hunters.
The wildlife agency says the number of hunters aged 18 to 24 has
dropped by more than a third in the past decade across the nation.
"There seems to be a lot less leisure time for both kids and
adults," Deen said. "And there are so many competing activities."
Carlton Murrey, president of the newly formed WNC Sportsman
Federation, said the current generation of hunters isn't passing down
"Younger generations are playing more video games and watching TV
rather than going out in the woods," he said. "Hunting is a powerful
initiation rite that we no longer use."
© 2005 The Sun News and wire service sources
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