The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service produces a report every few years that tries to gauge how many people are hunters, anglers, or wildlife watchers. The idea is to see what percentage of the population actually gets out there and enjoys the natural world.
The last few studies have been pretty discouraging. The number of anglers has been increasing, but since the population is increasing faster, there are actually fewer anglers on a percentage basis than there were just a few years ago. Hunter numbers are even more alarming. Hunters are disappearing even faster.
But you wouldn’t know it by strolling down the aisles in your favorite department store or looking through the pages of the mail-order catalogs. The number of things you can find with a hunting twist are nearly limitless.
A lot of that stuff is just the regular item, but it comes in a camo pattern. There have always been the camo hats and T-shirts, but you can also find camo Thermoses, camo couches, and camo wraps for your pickup.
You can get camo sheets for the bed, and even camo lingerie for your better half. I don’t know about you, but I’d rather not have to hunt for my wife in the bedroom. If we got the camo sheets, I’d be more interested in finding her some blaze orange jammies.
Now there are hunting toys for the little duffers in your house. You can get the kids a hunting playset complete with a toy truck all decked out in Advantage camo, and it comes with a tent, a hunter, and a little plastic deer.
Some of the weirdest camo stuff on the market is meant for the kitchen. I was flipping through my Cabela’s Christmas catalog the other day, and I ran across a camo crock pot. There doesn’t seem to be a limit to what they’ll cover with camo these days.
In some ways, that’s encouraging. There may be fewer of us, but if the stores are selling this stuff, someone’s buying it. Maybe that’s the problem. It only seems like there aren’t as many of us as there were before, but it’s only because nobody can find us anymore.