As much as I hate being lumped in with the group, at 25, I am undoubtedly a “Millennial.” This moniker isn’t a pleasant one because other groups (Generation X, Generation Y and the Baby Boomers) have negative perceptions of Millennials. We’re considered lazy and entitled, and these traits have sadly become our defining characteristics. We want the respect of these people, as they’re our bosses, teachers, politicians and parents. To start reframing our image, we need to use previous generations’ rites of passage to prove that what they did is not beyond us. One of these is hunting. Here’s why we should give it a try—even though many of our peers disdain it.
6) #Hunting is Conservation
Millennials are perhaps the most environmentally conscious generation yet. But that doesn’t mean all the “save the animals” groups are right. In fact, hunting contributes more to conservation than any of those groups ever have. How? Hunters fund the majority of conservation efforts for the environment and the animals our generation wants to protect.
5) #Hunting is Healthier
Millennials are perhaps the most health-conscious group, too. (Probably too much sometimes.) But if “store-bought meat is bad, mmmmkay,” how can we live “organically,” and still get protein that actually tastes good (sorry not sorry, soy)? By hunting, because we know exactly where our meat came from because we personally harvested it! Can’t cook it? There are numerous cookbooks available specifically for wild game. Besides the health benefits, the prices at the store can’t be beat because…
4) #Hunting is Cheaper
Ground beef (let alone pricier cuts) averages about four bucks a pound. By hunting your food, you will save loads of cash. The initial investment might be more, as rifles and bows aren’t cheap—but you can always buy one used, or even borrow one. And a tag? A drop in the bucket compared to what it would cost to purchase all that meat at retail prices. For example, an over-the-counter bull elk tag in my home state was $50. For that, I can stock a few hundred pounds of meat that will last until next hunting season a year later.
3) #Hunting Experiences (Yes, Even the Experience of Failure)
You’re probably asking, “Well, what if I don’t catch something?” First, do yourself a favor, and use the word “harvest” rather than “catch.” Hunting and fishing aren’t the same thing. Second, you’re right: Success isn’t guaranteed. But if it’s a sure bet, what’s the risk? And without risk, what’s the reward? And without the reward, why bother? Our generation acts for the sake of experience. People think Millennials are afraid to fail. Let’s prove them wrong. Yes, failure stinks. It’s not fun. But once we learn how to overcome, we can also experience…
2) #Hunting Success
Even considering the negative “what-ifs,” there are positive outcomes. More exciting are the “what-ifs” of success. One of my proudest moments was when I shot my one and only bull elk to date (hopefully there will be many more). He wasn’t a monster by any means, but man, was it cool, and it brought a sense of confidence in my own abilities, as well as a newfound respect from my family and friends. The same could be said of my first successful lone deer hunt. What it taught me was well worth the effort, but the payoff of bagging my deer by myself was quite the reward, too. Which brings me to my next point; hunting lets you join...
1) #The Hunting Community
Every interest, hobby or sport has its community, and it’s never a bad time when you can talk with like-minded people. Hunting is no different. Hunting even has its own types of cons (“conventions”, for the non-Millennials), such as SCI (Safari Club International) or the Great American Outdoor Show (a general outdoors con) and NRA Annual Meetings & Exhibits (not purely hunting, but a major event). Who knows what gear you might see and what you could learn for next year? Regardless, hunting is a way to find new people and new opportunities. And it’s a great way to build your community…including your offline one.
Hunting can be a way to show we’re more than our hipster stereotypes. I can think of several other benefits to hunting, but if these don’t do it, maybe the older generations were right…
Connor McKibbin is the newest addition to the American Hunter staff. If you'd like to read some more of his #winning, click here.