Fewer Hunters Take To Woods Each Year - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

10/04/07-Tyler

Fewer Hunters Take To Woods Each Year

"I think it really starts with the family, with the parents because when I was young, I really looked up to my dad who hunted," says Jason Thompson, who agrees with federal and state numbers that indicate fewer hunters take to the woods each year.

For countless children, it's how they bonded with their parents. Time outside and away from distractions.  

Thompson says "no more."

"It's hard to be concentrated on one thing," he said.

However, he has made a decision to keep that tradition of hunting alive, even parlaying his love for the outdoors into a career at Gander Mountain.

"Ever since I was ten years old -- maybe younger than that --  with archery, and I was part of a farm.  That was my time alone," he said.

The numbers show nationwide the number of hunters declined nearly ten percent in ten years. In Texas, the number of hunters has stayed flat, though the population keeps rising.

"It's gotten so commercial, it makes it very expensive in a lot of cases," said James Gathright, who picked up his bow a few years ago after years of rifle hunting.

"I had a son-in-law that I wanted to do something with, and I just got addicted to it," he said.

Where he can hunt, and even aim his arrow to practice, are limited.  It wasn't that way decades ago.

"You just went hunting.  Everyone welcomed you on their place, and nobody did a thing.  You were welcomed to hunt almost anyplace. Now, you're not allowed on any property without written permission, and sometimes that comes with a note and a price," he says.

There are still some public lands where it doesn't cost hundreds or thousands of dollars to hunt. And those around now say families have to keep this tradition alive.

The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department administers public lands for hunting purposes in Texas.  You can click on the link at the top of this story for more information.

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