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It's no secret that hunter numbers have been in decline for a number of years.

Years ago, most families featured a two-parent household and, often, dad would be the one taking the kids to the woods in pursuit of just about every type of game.

In our current world, this often isn't the case. Mind-numbing video games, too many single parent households and the emphasis on team athletics seem to have hurt the number of young hunters introduced each year. Climbing into a treestand or blind is sadly not on as many people's radar as it was when I was growing up. Add to that the lack of access to hunting places compared to 30 or 40 years ago and it paints a bleak picture, doesn't it?

There are plenty of good things that sportsmen are doing to combat the losses and to bring new hunters into the wild. Sadly,there are some people who do more harm than good.

More on hunting: Hunting headlines | 2012-2013 trophy shots | More hunting photos | Watch a rebroadcast of Deer Camp Live | Registration station map | Hunting blogs

As I mentioned earlier, society has changed drastically since I began hunting some 35 years ago. The problem of single-parent households is far more common today. Some moms introduce their kids to shooting sports and, fortunately, there are a lot of shooting programs that are either free or low in cost available to kids. There are many volunteers willing to teach kids to shoot bow and guns. There are a lot of great people who teach hunter safety and mentor in other programs such as the Learn to Hunt event. There are also a lot of women-only programs available as well. God bless the volunteers because without them, hunting might be on life support.

There have also been a number of positive legislative initiatives the last few years as well, that seem to helping. Kids as young as 10 can now hunt with a mentor with a mentoring license. We have a few different youth hunts for deer in the fall and for turkey in the spring. Kids can get a reduced price youth hunting license. Gun and bow cases are no longer required. Crossbow use is becoming more accepted. Bear tags can be transferred to other parties. We now have mourning dove seasons, a wolf season, early goose hunting and longer than ever deer seasons, with multiple doe tags for as low as $2 a tag.

Do you get the picture? We have a lot of good things going for us, and we need to keep it going.

Yet, there are still people within our own ranks that seem to want to keep things status quo, and I have to ask why? Hunters who oppose everything from youth hunts to deer baiting, to crossbow use. They don't like some of those things because it gives an 'unfair advantage' to the hunter or feel that kids don't need special hunts to get outdoors.

Many hunters opposed the dove hunt when it came out, but that noise has since calmed. Baiting for deer has been dividing hunters for years amidst CWD fears, (or junk science as I like to call it). Some hunters look at baiting as unethical, favoring food plots.

Crossbows seem to be the hot button topic lately. A very vocal minority of hunters oppose crossbows, claiming it compromises the integrity of bowhunting, with unfounded fears of ultra long shots being taken or that crossbow hunters don't have to draw their bow.

There is also the 'trophy' mentality among way too many people. They argue that shooting anything less than a Pope and Young deer is somehow inferior. I have to ask each person, "What's it to you?" Hunting is a personal choice, no matter what you hunt, how you take that animal or how big it may be.

With that being said, I would think that we as hunters are all in agreement that we need to do what we need to do to retain and add more hunters to preserve the future of hunting. I also want to thank the numerous people who are doing their share to make sure hunting will be alive and well for generations to come.

But the infighting, cannibalistic nature of too many out there needs to end. Think of how much greater the outdoors could be if a lot of the attitudes would go away.

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