January 30, 2014

Archery and Bowhunting booming in popularity

By Charles Moffat

Archery and bowhunting are booming in popularity in North America - largely due to all the buzz about archery in movies like The Hunger Games, Catching Fire, Brave, The Avengers, Hanna and also TV shows like The Walking Dead, Game of Thrones and Arrow.

This newfound popularity of archery - and by extension, bowhunting - has boosted the number of people doing archery dramatically.

Bows are flying off the shelves of archery equipment stores. Waiting lists for hard-to-find bows are getting longer and longer.

One young woman reportedly waited 6 months to receive her new handcrafted bow because the company in question was so overwhelmed by the sudden demand for archery equipment.

And it has been persistant.

Ever since the release of the first Hunger Games movie more and more women (and men too) are getting into archery. The fad - if you can call it that - is not slowing down. It is speeding up according to people in the industry. Every month the demand just grows and grows.

Archery stores like Tent City in North York, Bass Pro in Vaughan and even traditional archery stores like "Basically Bows Archery" on Queen Street East in Toronto are doing rapid business and figuratively raking in the dough.

An archery display at Bass Pro in Vaughan.
Adjusting a compound bow at Bass Pro in Vaughan to make sure it is square.
One archery instructor in Toronto reports that people are already booking archery lessons for June and July - partially because he is booked up for most of March, April and May. And this is just January - what would be considered a slow season for archery lessons.

Furthermore there are now more archery clubs than ever before, including Facebook groups like The Canadian Toxophilite Society (Toxophilite is an old fancy word which means a lover of archery). There is also archery blogs, which are becoming a welcome source of information for people who are new to archery.

Many new archers are hesitant to get into bowhunting, but the thirst is still there. One of the reasons to do so is because many new archers believe in ethical hunting, which is actually nothing new. Most hunters believe in ethical hunting - and believe that hunting for trophies is just morally wrong.

Many non hunters have difficulty grasping the idea that hunters believe so strongly in "ethical hunting". We've been raised in a media rich society that has pushed the idea that all hunting is wrong - ignoring the reality that humans eat animals and have always eaten animals since the dawn of cro-magnon man.

But The Hunger Games has brought to attention the fact that regardless of whether you hunt your food yourself, or whether you buy it in a grocery store (a la the fictional people of "the capital"), it is still killing animals for your food regardless. That realization has made many young people to rethink hunting and fishing when it comes to how they choose to get their food.

For example, a single moose would provide a family of three with enough frozen meat in their freezer for a year (not so much that they are eating it every day, but enough that they can eat moose meat regularly without getting bored of it).

In the past I have gone a more traditional route with my own meat. Once per year I buy a pig, pay for the butchering and I get enough ham roasts, sausages, pork chops, butt chops, etc to fill a freezer. By the time the year is over my freezer is almost empty and it is time to order another pig. That single pig provides a good chunk of my protein needs for a year.

Now imagine for a moment if I took up moose hunting with a bow. Or deer. Or elk. Or black bear. Or grouse, goose, duck, wild turkey. I could take my traditional approach even further by hunting the animals I eat during the year, pay for butchering, and stock my freezer accordingly.

It would, I realize, hurt farmers if everyone did what I am proposing. But not everyone is going to suddenly give up farm grown pork, beef, poultry, mutton, etc, so I think the farming industry will be perfectly fine.

I also want to note that you don't need a big expensive compound bow to get into hunting. You just need a bow that has the appropriate poundage (minimum 39.7 lbs for deer, minimum 48.5 lbs for elk, moose and black bear), a hunting license, and hunting tags.

That means that you can hunt with a traditional bow, like the Bear Grizzly bow in the video below.

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