For a while now I have been concerned about the average age of the AKC hunt test participants.
If I had to guess it is late 50's. I realize my perspective is limited to the northeast. My concern has been no new people really getting into the game.
In fact, the "new" faces that I see are people that were in the game 20 years ago that life dictated other priorities to that are coming back. When I got started, 50 dog Junior stakes were the norm. Lake Champlain recently had a $35.00 entry fee for a Junior stake that I judged and they gave us 2 mallard live flyers for them! This was done to attract more people to the game that might be willing to give it a try for $35.00. Junior is the "gateway drug" to the games and is where we would see most new people give it a try. I also realize that the club lost money on this stake and not all clubs have the finances to do so. That said, I wonder if more clubs had a reduced entry fee for first time handlers if that would help attract new people. My concern is really that 10 years from now this game will be left only to the pros and clubs will be hiring all the help to run the stakes or that the clubs will disappear altogether. Kudos to LCRC for taking some action to try and attract new players! Any thoughts on this, or am I way off base and the program is growing in other parts of the country?