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Gunmakers shift focus away from hunting

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Wednesday, August 7, 2013 - 6:28pm

Before you know it, hunting season will be here.
But will the hunters be here as well.
That’s one trend that has gun makers worried, but their strategy has shifted.
It may not feel like it right now, but fall is just around the corner.
Well, at least September is.
And that is the start of all the various hunting seasons here in Texas.
And Dave Sierra of Parks and Wildlife says, it should be a good one.
“It has been a very good year,” Sierra told us. “We’ve been blessed with some summer rains we didn’t get last year, so this year is better than last year, andit was better than the year before.”
So, the habitat is good, forage is good, and the animals are healthy. But there are fewer hunters out there to take advantage of it.
Traditionally hunters were the biggest target audience for gun manufacturers.
But though we’ve seen a sales boom lately, the trends are disturbing.
“Overall, we’ve seen an increase in hunting license sales, but I think that per capita, it is in decline,” says Sierra.
“There’s not much public land, so if you want to hunt, you have to own land, pay to hunt on somebody else’s lease or a ranch,” says Robert Quates of Lock & Load. “The average lease can run 2-3000 dollars a year. Not everybody can afford that. But you can come here and still shoot your rifle for $20.””
A generation ago, more than half of American households owned a gun. Today it's barely one in three. Millennials, in particular, show less interest : Less than 20 percent of Americans born after 1980 report having a gun in the home.
So, manufacturers have emphasized glamour guns like the AR15 and various semi-auto handguns.
Quates told us, they have evolved into fine hunting rifles as well.

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