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New Mexico resident David Elliot first considered hunting elk back in January to help feed friends and family when the U.S. reported its initial coronavirus case -- despite not owning a rifle or ever hunting large animals before. He received a permit to shoot a female elk and plans to attend a hunt in November.
“I want to make sure it’s a clean, humane shot, as much as possible, and get a bunch of food," Elliot said, according to Reuters.
An increase in hunting licenses and permit applications have been reported by game and fish agencies in multiple states this spring, as the virus continues to spread throughout the U.S.
A resurgence is expected with meat shelves at grocery stores noticeably empty for the first time during the last two months, said Hank Forester of the Quality Deer Management Association.
“People are starting to consider self-reliance and where their food comes from,” Forester told the news organization. “We’re all born hunters.”
Nina Stafford, 42, a building contractor in Georgia killed her first deer back in January, which gave her confidence she could find her next meal amid potential food shortages.
“The coronavirus has only made me want to go and do it more so that I don’t have that scared feeling of where’s my next meal going to come from,” said Stafford, according to Reuters.
Others feel that hunting allows them to get away and clear their head during a stressful time for many Americans.
“Its been so important for me, being able to go out and kind of cleanse my mental card and just go and be present, you really have to be present, and quiet and listening,” said Nathaniel Evans, 38, a teacher who shot a 17-pound wild turkey last month in New Mexico, the news organization reported.
While hunting license applications have increased in some states throughout the U.S., both California and Florida have seen those numbers decline.