China: The Future of Hunting…

Could China provide the market that the international hunting community has been looking for? (Photo: Steve Scott Instagram)

As the number of hunters in the United States declines, some are looking to the other side of the world to reinvigorate an international hunting market hit by urbanization and culture shift.

The first-ever hunting show was held in China last month, and its founders and promoters are hoping to expand interest in the sport and encourage wealthy Chinese citizens to book hunts from Africa to Canada.

“This is the opening of the largest potential [hunting] market in the history of the universe,” Steve Scott, an American hunter and television producer, told Quartz. “This is the D-Day for hunting on the biggest beach there will ever be.”

The show was organized by Chinese entrepreneur Jerry Li, who emigrated to Canada in 2002 and soon harvested his first black bear in British Columbia. Li believes that as Chinese people grow wealthier, they’ll be looking for new and exciting ways to spend their money.

“People, especially young people, they want to try different lifestyles,” Li told Quartz.

Li operates a company called WILDER that distributes hunting-related content on Chinese social networks. He plans to expand what he offers to his 40,000 subscribers by allowing them to book hunts and buy hunting-related products through his platform.

The first company catering to Chinese citizens who wanted to hunt abroad opened in 2003. Since then, Li told Quartz that there are about 20.

International hunting and safari companies are beginning to take notice. Alexander Oelofse, who was born and raised in Namibia and runs a hunting safari company his father founded in 1975, attended the China Hunting Show to tap into the market that might replace the dwindling number of American hunters.

“When this chance came up with the China Hunting Show, we felt this might be… something that re-energizes the hunting market,” he told Quartz. “I think the future for China and Africa is really big, and the faster we from this side adopt the Chinese market, it’ll be better for us and for our kids in the future.”

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For now, however, outfitters like Oelofse can only hope. Quartz reports that very few of the 85 outfitters at the show booked hunts.

“It is difficult to say [the show] was a success,” said Remi Donnelly, another show exhibitor. “We made a lot of contacts, but we haven’t made any bookings yet.”

For those outfitters who did make bookings, they’ll likely have to contend with clients who have never hunted or fired a gun. Oelofse said that Chinese hunters don’t usually bring their own firearms and request that the guide carry the rifle and only give it to the client when a clear shot presents itself.

Despite the lack of bookings and seeming ambivalence of the Chinese towards hunting, show promoter Steve Scott remains optimistic about the future.

“What I was selling was first access,” Scott said. “It’s the potential that’s there. That’s what brought people. That’s what’s going to bring people by the droves next year.”

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About the author: Jordan Michaels has been reviewing firearm-related products for over four years and enjoying them for much longer. With family in Canada, he’s seen first hand how quickly the right to self-defense can be stripped from law-abiding citizens. He escaped that statist paradise at a young age, married a sixth-generation Texan, and currently lives in Waco. Follow him on Instagram @bornforgoodluck and email him at jordan@gunsamerica.com.

{ 4 comments… add one }
  • Robert Thomas August 2, 2019, 8:17 am

    Next up: Refrigeration Expo in Nome, AK. Jeez this is dumb. If they can’t illegally copy it, manufacture it and sell it, the Chinese aren’t interested.

  • Torn July 23, 2019, 7:45 am

    One of the reasons for hunting decline in the U.S. is lack of access, before you bring all of those Chinese over here (notice he was talking about the wealthy Chinese), better create better access for U.S. hunters. Not everbody who hunts in the U.S. is wealthy! I’m talking about $15,000 hunts for Elk. Colorado charges $500 to $660 for non resident Elk, combined with a drive or flight across half the country and rental vehicle fees, food, and housing, you’re probably looking at $2000 to $3000, pricing a significant portion of the hunting population out of the hunting access.

  • Ves1 July 9, 2019, 9:59 pm

    I wonder where this “hunting” sport is coming from? It’s like buying snow skis in Florida. Where and what is the game you would hunt?

    I was in Inner Mongolia, the northern part of China, near Mongolia in 1997. I was doing livestock consulting for a company requesting my services, it was quite backwards in regards to production…..Any way, while I was there in a town – Hohhot, I did not see a wild bird and when I returned to Beijing, I did not see a bird.

    I don’t believe there could be much of any game, as those 1.4 Billion hungry residents needed food to eat.

    Maybe I am wrong, but I honestly don’t remember seeing even a sparrow/finch.

  • Jerry S. July 9, 2019, 11:00 am

    I can’t see this developing beyond a curiosity thing. The populace has never even held a bullet, let alone a firearm. Possession of such things is practically unheard of in China. I have to be careful not to have left any ammunition in my travel baggage when I go there for fear of detention. I was even prohibited from bringing back WWII Garand bayonets I had purchased in an open-air market a couple of years ago.

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