As I sit down to do this Struttin’ Time, I have woken up to the fact that our youth may not be able to hunt anything but small game in the future.
Small game is all we had to hunt when I grew up. We spent days and nights hunting squirrels, rabbits, groundhogs, raccoons, and grouse. To hunt deer, you needed to go to the far western part of Kentucky or to some other state. Turkey hunting was a sport of the past, and nobody that I knew hunted black bear anymore. We would hunt for two weeks just to tree one raccoon.
Then came these good years of hunting. Deer, turkey, elk, and black bear started slowly but surely coming back. With the help of man, nature started to heal itself. We now have almost anything we want to hunt. The men and women with vision have even brought exotic animals to places here in the U.S. for us to hunt. You can hunt almost any animal in Texas that you would like to hunt. The problem is, those hunts come with a very high price tag. Not only in Texas, but elsewhere.
I was looking at some prices to hunt Axis deer. The cost starts around $2,500 and you haven’t gotten there yet. Wild boar, which years ago ranchers and farmers begged you to hunt and remove them from their land at no charge, are now close to a $1,000 for one wild boar.
Now let us move closer and look at our Commonwealth and the reason I say our youth may be priced out of hunting. Just a few short years ago you could go to any neighbor and ask a few simple words, “Do you care if I hunt on your property?” The answer was and in many cases still is just go ahead. But now so many people have learned there is money in “them there” hills and charge high amounts of money to let someone hunt. As I started to write this I looked at several deer hunts right here in our beloved state starting at $2,000 for a three-day hunt.
I know some hunters will save for a lifetime to take that one dream hunt. The problem is the greed gene of the landowner keeps going up so the price goes up each year, and the money you started saving today may not be enough when you are ready to go.
With cost of everything going up and wages going nowhere, will our youth be able to pay the price for a trophy deer hunt, or to get their turkey grand slam? Only time will tell, but unless something changes, it doesn’t look good for them.