That’s not to mention the hundreds of millions of dollars from gun and ammo excise taxes that go into conservation programs every year. Hunters are taxed at a pretty princely rate for their sport, which is not a bad thing when you consider fish and game are limited resources.
Though hunting is a common pursuit, it has undeniably fallen out of the mainstream. But this was not always the case. Many of the founders of the modern conservationist movement were hunters; Theodore Roosevelt and Stewart Udall come to mind. There was a time when hunting was simply a part of being an outdoorsman (or woman).
At this point in the fall, we’re just exiting the deer hunting season, which is definitely the most busy time as far as number of hunters in the woods. Bow or muzzleloader hunters still have some time left in the “late season” though, as do hunters seeking black bear using those implements. The longer season for hunting smaller game (squirrel, grouse, hares and the like) is open through the winter in most of the state.
Just like the vast majority of hikers stick to the rules, most hunters are interested in following regulations and being kind to the wilderness. A few bad apples might seemingly spoil either barrel, but they can’t be considered representative of the sport as a whole. In general, those who relish outdoor pursuits are just as cordial as anyone else and generally quick to offer a helping hand. Just across the page, for example, you’ll read a Point of View column by Alan Via on his involvement in the local hiking scene.
So when next year’s hunting season does roll around, though, keep in mind not only the advice for safety in the woods (such as wearing hunter’s orange during hunting season, no matter your purpose for being in the wild) but be cognizant that hunters and hikers are two groups more alike than different.