So this story in Texas Monthly intrigued me. (Texas Monthly is the magazine that made me wonder, Where is Wisconsin Monthly?) It’s all about how people spend a lot of money to hunt in Texas and that it’s a rich person’s game.
Which is completely bizarre to me. My family hunts. My uncles and my cousins hunt every fall. And my best cousin Angie, who is nine days older than I am and is the friend I have had the longest, runs a deer-processing business that my uncle, who was a third-generation butcher (he invented the Tombstone sausage stick!) started.
Angie makes amazing sausage, by the way. Anytime my husband and I have dinner guests, we argue about whether they are venison-sausage worthy. That is, if you are an out of state guest in my home and I have never offered you venison brats or venison summer sausage – well, you might be on the C list.
Anyhow. It never occurred to me that hunting was something for rich people. At least, regular hunting like deer and turkey hunting. Trophy hunting in Africa? That’s just show-offy, although if you are paying $10,000 for the license and otherwise spending money in a poor country, good for you.
Except if you are hunting elephants. If you shoot an elephant, I will give you the cut direct.
But if you want to prove your hunter bona fides, sit in a deer stand in northern Wisconsin in November. Then we’ll talk.
Here are the stats: For the 2017 hunting season (there may be 2018 data but I am not going to hunt for it), Wisconsin sold 700,843 licenses. Divided by a population of 5.795MM, that gives us 12% of the population with a hunting license.
For that same period, Texas sold 1,148,765 hunting licenses. For a population of 28.3 million, that’s about four percent of the population.
The way they break their data out in the table I reference is a little bit odd, but again – not going to spend time digging into it because I am kind of lazy but also because the scale of the difference is significant enough that we can draw the conclusions I want you to draw, which is that hunting is a lot more common in Wisconsin than it is in Texas.
Hunting here is something people do as a hobby but also do for food. It’s not a rich person’s game. You don’t hear of the rich folks in Milwaukee taking off to go hunting. I don’t, anyhow. So what’s the deal? Do the people you know hunt? Are they rich? Are they regular people? When did it become a rich person thing?