Many things have been done to promote the conservation of waterfowl, but I think this latest effort might be the one that will work the best. I am talking, of course, about the ammunition manufacturer’s initiative to save ducks by raising ammunition prices.
For instance, the other day I saw a box of waterfowl ammunition at a big box store. And it was selling for about $50 for 10 shells, before taxes. That means every time you shoot one of those shells at a duck, it costs you $6.50. So, every time you empty an auto-loading or pump shotgun at passing birds, you’ve spent $19.50.
Naturally, this is going to change duck hunting.
The first thing I predict is you will start to see a lot more accountants and financial advisers invited into duck blinds this season. Their job will be to prevent hunters from entering financial ruin.
I imagine it will go something like:
Hunter: We’ve got two mallards coming into the decoys, what do I do?
Financial Adviser: Based on an analysis of your earlier shooting, you’ve got a one in three chance of hitting the near mallard and a one in 26 chance of dropping the far one. Hang on while I crunch the numbers….
Hunter: Never mind, they’re gone.
Financial Adviser: It’s OK, it turns out that not shooting at those, or any ducks really, was the fiscally responsible thing to do. Shotgun shell futures are looking up! You could sell those shells for $7.25 apiece today on the open market…
No matter how you slice it, this kind of sober second thought will probably benefit the ducks and the duck hunter. Oh sure, a cost assessment of any given hunt might not be the kind of thing we duck hunters are used to, but it might at least help in prioritizing which ducks we target.
I mean, in this economy, are you really going to spend $19.50 shooting three shots at a passing group of tiny green-winged teal hens? Especially when there is only a 60 per cent chance of connecting with one and you are financially risk averse.
I can just see hunters meeting at the landing after a good northern flight has come in.
“Well, how did you do?” one might ask the other.
“I limited out,” the hunter might say. “But financially it was a disaster. Want to buy a boat?”
The good news is that these high prices might not affect other kinds of hunting, in which hunters tend not to shoot a lot. For instance, while arrow prices have also gone up, in most cases you can recover them so if you care for them, the bowhunters out there will eventually recoup their costs. Turkey hunting ammunition is also expensive, but the truth of the matter is a good turkey hunter will only shoot two shells each spring and maybe one in the autumn, and turkeys are bigger, so it all pans out is terms of cost effectiveness.
Big game hunting with a rifle is still one of the great bargains too. Again, the cartridges have gone up in price, but typically a deer hunter with any sort of skill and a measure of visual acuity will one take one shot.
It’s the only hunting sport where you still get a bang for your buck.