Yes, people are shooting more competitions and carry concealed more than ever. The new standard of gun ownership is oriented towards the urban gun owner, supplanting and sometimes replacing more rural pursuits like hunting. But you won’t see it if you read the magazines or watch TV. Why?
Well, let’s look at what’s associated with a hunting trip versus, say, shooting a major competitive shooting match. Both (usually) involve a trip of some sort, but what you actually spend your money on is quite different.
To go hunting, you need a truck that’ll handle the back roads, and either a quarter-ton of camping gear or a pre-arranged place to stay. You’ll shoot some ammo (more if it’s birds or some animal where the bag limit is more than one), eat camping food or similar and drive back.
To shoot a match, you fly (or drive) to a hotel, shoot the match using a LOT of ammo (usually stuff you reload yourself), eat at local restaurants or the match-provided caterer and then fly/drive back home.
To go hunting requires a lot of non-hunting expenditures like a truck, camping gear, camouflage clothing and similar items, but not a lot of money spent on the actual “gun activity” (i.e. ammo) when you’re out there. Sure, your rifle or shotgun may cost as much or more as a USPSA race gun, but most of your expenses is stuff that’s not involved with pulling the trigger and is also suitable for outdoor activities like camping or fishing.
Practical shooting? Not so much. Traveling to a match is pretty much like business travel, but with even more hassle from the TSA and Customs. Aside from what you spend at the match itself, the activities required to get you to a match and back are pretty much the same as any other type of travel.
Which makes casting around for ad money for a hunting show is easier than looking for money for a “Gun Culture 2.0” show, because of all the other outdoor-related industries associated with hunting. Let’s face it, aside from the clothing and gear needed to harvest the food, a fishing trip and a hunting trip look pretty much the same. Making the case that Jeep should sponsor a hunting show is easy, because Jeep products can be used on a hunting trip, the same can be said for Coleman lanterns or RealTree clothing. What type of car is associated with practical shooting? What kind of clothing do USPSA shooters prefer?
Hence the problem.
What’s the solution? Well, finding things on the edges is one way. Practical shooters always wear eye protection where hunters might not. That’s why sponsors like the Rudy Project are important because they make shooting glasses something that normal people buy. Finding things in common is another: Mossberg’s 930 shotgun is a heck of a scattergun for 3 gun AND hunting, and kudos for them for finding ways to advertise the guns to both activities.
And play up the personalities of practical shooting: Yes, Top Shot rode the drama llama hard and often, but that brought in the viewers. How many people follow NASCAR for the love of racing, and how many people follow it to cheer for their heroes and root against their villains.
The future of Gun Culture 2.0 belongs to the people who find a way to make it pay.