For These Reasons, Health-Conscious Americans Are Giving Bowhunting a Try

Lifestyle Wild Meat

Ever wonder how a fast-food burger’s nutritional values compare to a can of Vienna sausages? I bet they’re running a tight race. What if Vienna sausages are actually healthier? Cause they sure are cheaper and not bad, not bad at all, when paired with Saltine crackers. Or, maybe you love bologna. If you really, really love it, shouldn’t you probably just go ahead and indulge if you’re already slipping in a dollar burger here and there or treating yourself to chicken nuggets that don’t look like chicken? Or pork. Or, well, I mean where are the fibers in the meat? The texture is all wrong.

Eating, it seems, has gotten to be a very tangled web, indeed. There are preservatives to consider and antibiotics. Inherent to meat production, more and more (and younger and younger) consumers are paying attention to what’s in their food. Sometimes they’re even food shaming, which could be an over-correction because everyone needs a little junk once in awhile. Yet, something’s gotta give.

An increasingly health-conscious nation is also learning they can avoid “mystery meat” by hunting the meat themselves. Meanwhile, the Archery Trade Association and its member-manufacturers and retailers want to know why so many new hunters tend to be motivated by pounds (meat) rather than inches (the hunter’s trophy).

Data-Driven Truths

When arrowing a deer or turkey, bowhunters reap the benefits by using the animal as a meat source, which produces instant gratification. Photo Credit: Paul Sherar/ATA

When arrowing a deer or turkey, bowhunters reap the benefits by using the animal as a meat source, which produces instant gratification. Photo Credit: Paul Sherar/ATA

An ATA study released in 2014 found among all archers including recreational and competitive archers, bowhunters proved to be the nation’s most loyal archers. Respondents who participated in bowhunting did so more frequently and consistently than those strictly interested in recreational archery.

In fact, of those polled in 2014 who said they had shot archery and bowhunted, 52 percent considered themselves bowhunters first and archers second. In a recent study released earlier this year, the ATA found participants were also inspired by “family or heritage” to try archery. Lifestyles are generational, after all. Once traditions take root in families, they usually grow in some way in subsequent generations. In the study, bowhunters said their primary motivation was to hunt and enjoy the outdoors. They also rated the importance of bowhunting to obtain locally produced, noncommercial meat at 7.1 on a 10-point scale.

An October 2015 article by MediaPost, an online marketing publication that targets brand managers and leaders, said, “A growing number of consumers are not only scrutinizing consumables with artificial ingredients, they are shifting their dollars to products with natural formulations with recognizable ingredients.”

A 2014 study by the Archery Trade Association showed that bowhunters were the nation’s most loyal archers. Respondents who participated in bowhunting did so more frequently and consistently than those strictly interested in recreational archery. Photo Credit: Paul Sherar/ATA

A 2014 study by the Archery Trade Association showed that bowhunters were the nation’s most loyal archers. Respondents who participated in bowhunting did so more frequently and consistently than those strictly interested in recreational archery. Photo Credit: Paul Sherar/ATA

Likewise, both ATA studies found that family-based hunters like harvesting their own food. Those motivations – family and self-sustainability – mesh.

“Drought, worries about food waste, and other natural phenomena not only affect the worldwide food and drink supply, but influence preparation and production,” the MediaPost reported. “As a result, next year sustainability will evolve from being good for the bottom line to being a necessary part of new product development for the common good.”

Data uncovered through Cornell University’s 2014 study corroborates these trends:

“Relatively high on the list of respondents’ recreation motivations … were two items that have not been typically included on motivation scales: ‘obtaining my own food from natural sources’ and ‘becoming more connected to the place where I live.’ Both of these reasons appeared to be more important than any type of achievement-oriented motives (e.g. challenging and improving outdoor skills, catching/harvesting a trophy animal) and both could be emphasized in future studies of locavore anglers and hunters.”

The largest age group that reported hunting with a bow or firearm in the 2014 study was the 18- to 34-year-olds, dubbed “Millennials.” The 2016 data showed a more diverse age group interested in archery and bowhunting, that is 18- to 54-year-olds. Photo Credit: Adam Coker/ATA

The largest age group that reported hunting with a bow or firearm in the 2014 study was the 18- to 34-year-olds, dubbed “Millennials.” The 2016 data showed a more diverse age group interested in archery and bowhunting, that is 18- to 54-year-olds. Photo Credit: Adam Coker/ATA

Appreciating nature and what it provides for survival closely connects you with where you live. If you use what’s around you, you’ll notice how much you need the land. Therefore, you understand just how vital land is to survival.

Millennials are poked at on social media, usually with jokes implying they don’t like stores such as “Dillard’s” or well-known bands such as Coldplay because they’re too mainstream. That doesn’t mean they want to sacrifice quality for lesser-known products. In truth, they still want good products (good music, good food, etc.), but they want it to be different. Commercially packaged food has a mass-produced feel some millennials disdain. They don’t want something fresh off an assembly line that’s slapped with a label and shipped for mass marketing with no obvious human touch.

Wanna Give Bowhunting a Try?

An increasingly health-conscious nation is learning they can avoid “mystery meat” by hunting the meat themselves. Photo Credit: Paul Sherar/ATA

An increasingly health-conscious nation is learning they can avoid “mystery meat” by hunting the meat themselves. Photo Credit: Paul Sherar/ATA

If you’re looking to source your own meat and would love to give bowhunting a try, here are a few ways to get started:

  1. Check out Archery 360’s “Intro to Archery.” You’ll get a quick introduction to different types of bows and how to shoot.
  1. Read the basic on where to hunt.
  1. Now that you’re armed with enough knowledge to ask serious questions, find a bowhunting shop in your community and talk to an expert, get some instruction and meet like-minded people.

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