Changing Demographics

The thrill of the hunt is still there, but hunting continues to fade

It’s that family tradition of hunting that introduces most people to the sport. And it’s what keeps them coming back.

But in the past few years, the number of people hunting has continued its decade-long decline in South Carolina. As the number of hunters has declined so have sales of shotguns and rifles in the state.

Earlier I posted that South Carolina, like many states, just set a new conceal carry permit record. Something else noted in that story, though, is that the sales of both shotguns and rifles are declining. Last year saw a 9% decline in the number of hunting licenses issued in the state since 1999. Not huge, but it’s a significant number. Background checks for rifles and shotguns in South Carolina have dropped by 18% over the same period. Though transactions between individuals for these guns won’t show up in those numbers, transactions between individuals will be used guns, meaning that the sales of new long guns are down.

It would be interesting to see if rifle sales saw an increase in 2009 due to the great AR Rush. Many of those buying new rifles are not buying them to hunt.

2 thoughts on “Changing Demographics”

  1. I can tell you that for myself, I don’t hunt due to a lack of ability to find an affordable place to do so. In states without large amounts of public hunting land, the cost of a hunting lease places hunting out of the reach of many people until they reach late middle age. In order to use public hunting land, I would need to take a week off of work to make it worthwhile (a days travel to the land and a days travel back). When you only have a couple of weeks vacation time a year, that is very hard to justify.

  2. Not only do private transfers not show up in the numbers, but any of those record number of South Carolina CWP holders’ gun purchases won’t show up, either. If you have a valid CWP, you still have to fill out the 4473, but they don’t need to call it in for a background check.

    Not to mention that it seems to be more common (for at least the last year anyway) for folks to buy more than one gun at a time, which skews that numbers.

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