State and nationwide decline in hunting participation

By: Christy Dimond Email
By: Christy Dimond Email

This is a busy time of year for David Moreno and his family.

David, an avid hunter since age 13, has spent the last 15 years instilling hunting values in his two children. For David and his two kids, hunting season means long weekends spent together, bonding over animals, cooking and "camp coffee."

"I felt that hunting is such a traditional thing for myself because I was mentored and felt that it was important for me to teach those skills to my children as well," David said.

His 19-year-old daughter, Stephanie Moreno, who started hunting at age five, said hunting brings her family closer, and the bonding they experience gets her excited for every hunting season.

"Hunting is one of the most important things to me because it means spending great quality time with my family," Stephanie said.

Stephanie said she's the only one of her friends who hunts.

"I think everybody is so caught up in being my age and having a good time, that other stuff like spending time with their families and just the all-around importance of family time is lost in people my age," Stephanie said.

Aaron Moreno, 14, said he also is one of the few kids his age at school who hunt.

"You have too many other sports and video games these days," Aaron said.

Although the Morenos are keeping hunting alive through generations, data shows they might be one of few families doing so.

A state and nationwide decline in hunting participation has Colorado Parks and Wildlife making a push to attract younger generations to the sport.

"We have seen over the years that the older hunters, once they reach a certain age, are no longer able to hunt. And some of the younger kids that are coming up are not picking up where they left off," said Mike Porras, public information officer for the Northwest Region of Colorado Parks and Wildlife.

According to Colorado hunting license sales, participation has declined more than 20 percent since 1998, and it is causing concern for wildlife officials about the future of wildlife management.

"It's a slight but steady decline," said Porras. "But if you continue to see that decline, by the time you get to 10, 20, 30 years in the future, and that decline continues without being addressed, you're certainly going to see some serious ramifications for our wildlife resource in Colorado."

Porras said mentoring is vital for novice hunters to become acclimated, and that Colorado Parks and Wildlife is encouraging avid hunters to take a younger person "under their wing" to teach them ethical and responsible hunting.

Colorado Parks and Wildlife is also offering specific classes and programs geared specifically towards younger hunters.

Find a list of upcoming events on the Colorado Parks and Wildlife website.

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