A culture of negativity towards younger hunters is rooted in stereotypes and misinformation.
This article original appeared in the 2019 Issue of Hunting Rising
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- Born between 1981 and 1996 (25 to 40 years old)
- A collective spending power of $1.4 trillion a year
- 72.1 million of the US population (about 30% of the population)
- 53 percent of millennial households have children
- 39 percent of millennials have a bachelor’s degree or higher
- 84% of millennials donated to charity
IF I HEAR one more professional writer tell the world what “hipsters” think and do in hunting I may pull my hair out. Not really . . . but it is almost entertaining because it only further exposes the gap in the hunting industry as it relates to millennials. Some people are just plain out of touch with facts and reality. As someone who has been called “hipster” and “millennial” as insults, I hope to give you a more factual account of the “hipster” story, as I close in on my 40th birthday (Yes, a millennial who is 39 years old). To be frank, I’m telling you this because I care about hunting and find a need to point out how the industry is alienating the future.
First off, one definition of hipster is “a person who follows the latest trends and fashions, especially those regarded as being outside the cultural mainstream.” (Google Knowledge Base). Let’s first point out that the term is a stereotype and maybe we need a bit of a check on our manners before proceeding. At least that’s what my mother would say and, no, I am not in her basement right now. Stereotypes are something we should stay away from as they have little ability to sway the subjects being stereotyped. Yes, that’s right. Every time the hipsters hear that the “hipsters” think this and “hipsters” do that, it only serves to alienate that very same group of people. Nothing helpful will ever come of it.
One can simply google “hipster hunters” and quickly be delivered a run of articles from some of the biggest hunting brands in the country stereotyping (and alienating) a whole class of people. And, lest the implication be lost, those are potential future hunters. Quite frankly, if those “hipsters” have yet to find said content, eventually they will, and consider your brand scratched off the list of deserving loyalty.
Even more outrageous is the tone of some of these articles. Essentially, they are fuming rants about how hipsters drink artisanal coffee and cannot do anything difficult. The end result is often, of course, that some old hunter comes out looking like a bad ass because the said “hipster” is shocked by his rugged authenticity. Which reminds me, that never actually happens. It’s click bait, feeding on the mainstream’s need for an ego boost with little thought to the very real hole they continue to dig.
Let’s go down this rabbit hole a little deeper. Hipsters do not prefer the term “harvested” when referring to killing game while hunting, despite what all these articles tell you. And, without throwing too many stones here, we can certainly thank some unnamed non-profits for the propaganda campaigns about hunting lingo that were thought up in board rooms with no one even remotely close to the “hipster” age group present. After all, what could a kid that plays video games all day possibly contribute?
In our recent survey, I believe we’ve gathered enough feedback to kill the term “harvested.” As expected, millennials used the term “harvested” less than their baby boomer counterparts. Authenticity is universally considered the cornerstone of millennial marketing, in all industries. When you hunt, you kill an animal. Hard stop. There is no softening that fact, no “spinning” it. The chance to encourage a new generation is built on the ethics before and after the kill. And those ethics must be rooted in the environmental impact, the social responsibility, and human experience.
So if millennials and/or “hipsters” are lazy, they would certainly avoid the effort that goes into hunting wild birds. They would surely prefer to hunt stocked birds because all they really want is their participation trophy, right? Not only do millennials hunt stocked birds less than their baby boomer counterparts, they also identified that hunting stocked birds was not an authentic experience at a greater rate than baby boomers. What we have is a generation that wants an authentic experience above all else. And they’re willing to work their tails off to make it happen.
Now this brief look into “hipsters” is not meant to be a baby boomer bash fest at all. It’s more of a gut check because, quite frankly, the hunting decline happened on their watch and the only honest way forward is to examine the attitudes and activities that contributed to the fall. This is meant to get the industry to wake up and realize that millennials and “hipsters” are taking over the space and if the industry doesn’t embrace them, it’s doomed. And let’s not forget to mention that Generation Z is already on the playing field…
Be conscious of how you speak about and to a millennial audience. If you stereotype us, we will simply reject you and replace you with someone or something else. It’s rather simple, stay away from assumptions and theories found in executive committees and board rooms where these key demographics have zero representation. You will fail. Many brands have already.