Bowhunting: The season’s drawing near and we love it

It’s the middle of July, and the weather across the U.S. is pretty predictable.

It’s hot.

And when it’s hot and sticky and just plain miserable outside, a lot of the LAS audience starts thinking about the same thing.

Bowhunting season.

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Photo: Bowhunting.com

Nearly 12 million Americans ventured out in pursuit of game with bows or crossbows in 2014, according to the Archery Trade Association. That was an increase of about 4 million over the ATA’s 2012 estimate.

People bowhunt for different reasons. Some do it to fill their freezers with fresh, chemical-free meat. Some like the chase for trophy-class animals. Others do it purely for fun and adventure, and the list goes on.

Many of us here at Lancaster Archery Supply enjoy bowhunting. Yes, it’s part of our business, but we do it because we love it just as much as you do.

In recognition of the upcoming, fall hunting seasons, we’re kicking off a bowhunting blog campaign today to help archers get ready for their hunts. Each week for the next several weeks, we will bring you a video and/or article on bowhunting-themed topics that we hope you’ll find informative.

To get things rolling, we thought we’d serve up some general facts and figures about hunting – especially bowhunting – in the U.S.

According to Archery Business, the top five bowhunting states in the U.S. in 2013 – the last year for which numbers were available – were:

1. Michigan – 328,655

2. Pennsylvania – 325,041

3. Wisconsin – 266,573

4. Ohio – 215,000

5. New York – 194,663

The top five states in 2015 for the number of licensed hunters overall were:

1. Texas – 1.06 million

2. Pennsylvania – 969,633

3. Michigan – 763,618

4. Tennessee – 727,229

5. Wisconsin – 717,381

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Hunters are considered by many to be the greatest conservationists in North America, since they are the ones who contribute the lion’s share of the funds used for wildlife research and habitat protection.

Here are some North American wildlife-population recoveries, which groups like the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation say were made possible by hunters.

1. Elk – 41,000 in 1907; more than 1 million today.

2. White-tailed deer – 500,000 in 1900; more than 32 million today.

3. Wild turkeys – 100,000 in 1900; over 7 million today.

4. Pronghorn antelope – 12,000 in 1950; more than 1.1 million today.

Generally, the fall bowhunting season in North America begins in August, with hunters heading to high-altitudes to chase goats and sheep. This is also a popular month for bowhunting pronghorns over water holes out West and for chasing caribou across the Arctic.

September is ruled by bugling elk and grunting moose in the rut. And there’s a lot of mule deer hunting as well. Bowhunting seasons for whitetails start to trickle open, and there still will be plenty of archers chasing caribou and antelope.

PA elk

Photo: Hal Korber, PA Game Commission

October and November are whitetail months. The white-tailed deer is considered the most-hunted big-game animal in North America, and October and November are whitetail prime time.

Subspecies of whitetails are found in every state, except for Hawaii and Alaska. So certainly their widespread distribution plays a role in their popularity.

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There is still plenty of bowhunting in December and January – mostly for whitetails – but archers definitely aren’t out there as thick as they were in earlier months.

Below is one of the finest films we could find for this blog, which illustrates how many of us feel about bowhunting. It’s 20 minutes long, so you will need to carve out some time to watch it.

But if you love bowhunting, we think you’ll be able to relate. And if you’re thinking about getting into the game, we believe this will convince you to take the leap.

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