Growing number of health conscious hunters prepare for opener

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EAU CLAIRE, Wisc. (WEAU) - While the overall number of hunters has declined over time, the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources said more and more people will grab their guns because of the health benefits of eating venison.

"These are two groups that you wouldn't necessarily associate with each other. Where you have folks that are interested in locally produced food being close to the earth, and having healthy free ranged food available. Then you have hunters, but the fact is, they're very much into the same kind of thing," D.N.R. communications specialist Ed Culhane said.

Nik Novak, meat manager of Just Local Foods in Eau Claire said he hunts because the health benefits of eating venison.

"I personally would like to know where my food comes from. And so if I can hunt, fish, gather or grow my own, it's going to save me money, it's going to teach me a useful skill, and it's gonna be delicious. So there's that cultural food aspect to it as well," Novak said.

Besides seeing more young hunters and more women getting into the sport, Greater Midwest Mercantile Manager David Madis said he's seeing the health-conscious hunters come through his door.

"It's definitely an advantage and there's more people going to that, not only because of the cost, because of the health," Madis said.

"I try to talk to convince people to hunt as much as I do telling them to come buy things from the store," Madis said.

"We are looking forward to a good future with a strong hunting contingent with all different kinds of people coming in to hunting and taking part in conservation, in the local food movement, and in the whole great tradition of hunting in Wisconsin," Culhane said.

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