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ŠUMARSKI LIST 1-2/2023 str. 78     <-- 78 -->        PDF

among the elderly, suggesting that it is more effective in recruiting new hunters than programs aimed at younger generations (Gude et al., 2012). Also most studies confirm the strong relationship between the time spent in nature during childhood and adolescence, with later interests in nature and the need for recreation based on enjoying nature (Gosling and Wiliams, 2010; Chwla and Derr, 2012; Braun and Dierkes, 2017; Rosa et al., 2018; Wilkins et al., 2019). The hunters are in general men brought up in the countryside, in families with history of hunting (Decker et al., 2001; Stedman and Heberlein, 2001; Heberlein et al., 2002). Most hunters started to hunt before the age of twenty (Duda et al., 1996; Decker et al., 2001; Stedman and Heberlein et al., 2001). Teenagers who participate in hunting with their parents, have a strong relationship with nature in their adult life (Lovelock et al., 2016). There is a greater interest in hunting among adolescents living in the countryside than among their urban peers (Stedman and Heberlein, 2001). The fact that there is a higher percentage of hunters in rural areas also helps to recruit new hunters among the inhabitants of the countryside (Heberlein and Ericsson, 2005). Therefore, possible programs aimed at increasing the number of hunters should be targeted mainly at teenagers and young adults living in cities (Wilkins et al., 2019). These programs must provide for reaching as many candidates for hunters as possible because it is simple dependence between number of hunters and social acceptance to hunting like USA and Sweden example shows (Byrd et al., 2017).
The adolescents’ and young adults’ perception of hunting and factors shaping it – Percepcija lova kod adolescenata i mladih i čimbenici koji ga oblikuju
The attitude of adolescents and young adults towards animals, animal welfare and their utilisation by humans depend on many factors. These may include gender, age, nationality/ethnicity, place of residence, activities and hobbies connection to animals, eating habits, culture, religion, education, and pet ownership (Kellert, 1985; Skogen, 2001; Martens at al., 2019). Kellert (1985), based on research on the attitude of children and adolescents in the USA carried out in four age groups – in the second, fifth, eight and eleventh grade (from 9 to 16 years of age), discovered that younger children have lower acceptance for hunting and that it can only be accepted when done for food and not for trophies. Similar results were obtained by Pagani et al. (2007) in research conducted among children and adolescents in Italy in four age groups, i.e. 9-10 years old, 11-12 years old, 13-14 years old and 15-16 years old. Whereas research by Martens et al. (2019) in a group of 358 students in the Netherlands and Belgium, divided into age groups of 12-15 and 16-21, did not show differences in attitudes towards animals in terms of age, but confirmed the lack of acceptance for hunting as a sport. Lack of acceptance for hunting as a sport and for trophies is a very general observation that requires further study. For example, the meat of the game animals hunted for the trophy is not thrown away, but is eaten (Daszkiewicz et al., 2013). Additionally, in case of some predators such as foxes and racoon dogs, hunting brings not only a trophy but also measurable control of their impact on environment (Schaefer, 2019).
Other factor shaping attitudes toward hunting is gender. 94% of girls and 71% of boys were against hunting (Kelletr, 1985; Pagani et al. 2007). The same pattern one can observe for adult people (Wierzbicka and Skorupski, 2017).
Research in various parts of the world shows that children, teenagers, and young adults living in the countryside show greater acceptance for hunting (Kellert, 1985; Skogen, 2001; Pagani et al. 2007). It was also discovered that the dividing line between village and city is not clear-cut, and that social background is equally important (Hauser, 1962; Skogen, 2001). Hauser (1962) states that city dwellers, who come from the countryside, should be more favourable to hunting than those from families who have lived in cities for many generations. The results of Skogen’s (2001) research indicate that among adolescents living in the countryside, majority of those who accept hunting belong to the farming and working-class families. Their peers from families that the author calls the middle class, giving examples of people who work in the city and live in the countryside, are as negative about hunting as teenagers living in cities. Although the conclusions of the research by Skogen (2001) shed new light on the traditional dividing line between city and village, and mean that despite the high acceptance of hunting in rural environments (Bialik, 2015; Sobalak et al., 2017; Wierzbicka and Skorupski, 2017; Skubis and Skubis, 2018; Kowalczyk et al., 2020; Matulewska and Gwiazdowicz, 2020; ), the acceptance of hunting in various social groups living in villages should be looked at more carefully and this issue requires a more detailed study. There is a great likelihood that the acceptance of hunting is the same as the acceptance of agriculture and forestry in these environments. And it is lower among people who moved from cities to countryside (Woods, 2003; Małek, 2011; Gołos, 2013; Markuszewska and Delebis, 2016).
The connection of children and adolescents with nature is a key element of their attitude to problems related to the protection of the ecosystems and nature conservation. Children and adolescents who have constant contact with nature and a strong, emotional connection with it, show greater sensitivity to the problems of nature and environmental protection. They have a greater need to protect the natural environment than their peers, whose spend little time in nature (Kals et al., 1999; Gosling and Wiliams, 2010; Chwla and Derr, 2012; Braun and Dierkes, 2017; Rosa et al., 2018; Martens et al., 2019).