Sunday, October 28, 2007

Growing prissiness among American men? I looked at the General Social Survey to see if hunting is on the decline and if males hunters differ from other guys in IQ. Here are the numbers (total sample=11,659):

Percent of men who hunt
1977 34.1
1987 25.1
1996 27.8
2006 18.9

It sure is in decline. Is this a sign of a increasing prissiness among American men? Perhaps the couch is more comfortable and the Xbox safer and less work?

Mean IQ

Hunters 95.4
Non-hunters 100.8

Hunters 86.6
Non-hunters 90.9

For both races, hunters are 4 or 5 points less intelligent. I don't imagine this was always the case: who hunted more than aristocrats? Is it a growing refinement of the right half of the bell curve? Once again, who was more refined than aristocrats? The American Male has morphed from Jim Bowie into David Bowie. (The singer got his name from the Alamo hero, by the way).


  1. This might be similar to the fact that racists have lower IQ than "non-racists". Its not necessarily because idiots become racists, but rather, because people who arent rich enough to get away from the underclass (largely black) become racist.

    Applied here, hmmm, perhaps people out in boondocks hunt more, and smarter people have moved to the cities? But in earlier times, or if in current times for some reason living in boondocks became profitable (say, a huge resurgence of organic farming?) then the IQ of hunters will rise.

  2. I don't guess that Blacks hunt much, maybe not at all, even when they live in hunting-friendly areas. Yet you wouldn't say they're on average prissier than northern Euros.

    There are many ways to be manly, and hunting is just one. You could become more competitive at work, work longer hours to get ahead, etc.

  3. There's nothing manly about hunting any more. Now it's just faux-manly, like Dick Cheney's favorite "sport" of having caged birds released right in front of him so that he can shoot them.

    Taking down a buffalo with only a spear and a couple of dogs, on the other hand -- now that's manly.

  4. Anonymous1:51 PM

    Who needs dogs?

  5. Anonymous3:06 PM

    I would guess a lot of factors affected American participation in hunting. (Sub)urban versus rural upbringing, greatly increased welfare spending (I've read multiple accounts of pre- Johnson- Administration poor families hunting for food, but few post except in Alaska or on Indian reservations), the influence of what Col. Jeff Cooper called "bambiism" propagandized by increasingly female schoolteachers, ever-more-restrictive gun laws (from 1960's through 1990's), cheaper meat in supermarkets, more time watching TV, and the relative cheapness of other outdoor recreation-- in the 70's and 80's people went skiing instead of hunting (more fun for girls). Heck, even the popularity of pot may have cut into hunting-- leaf make you peaceful.

    I think perversely women going to work more has cut down on male hunting-- because now nobody knows how to cook or has a big kitchen to cook in.

    As for the IQ trend, I would tie that to urbanization and the concentration of high-paying jobs in high-density areas.

  6. Anonymous5:33 PM

    Hunting gets bad PR in the media and animal rights activists would no doubt berate hunters who were loud and proud about it.

    Its "uncool" to be a young hunter on campus I'd imagine.

  7. tommy2:04 AM

    Taking down a buffalo with only a spear and a couple of dogs, on the other hand -- now that's manly.

    In Argentina I've heard they used to hunt jaguars with nothing but a knife and a few Dogo Argentinos.

    They need more gun sports that can be practiced in urban/suburban areas. I'm not real big on hunting (especially since I don't care for gamy meat) but I wouldn't mind getting involved in some sort of rifle shooting for fun if it wasn't too expensive or too far out of the way.

  8. Anonymous5:32 PM

    When I lived in Chicago it took a half-day trek to drive to a rifle range. If you can't get enough rifle practice in, you're going to be a menace in the woods.

  9. This is an urban-rural thing. You can't hunt anything in Manhattan except bargains.

    Really, that's it.

  10. I think hunting and golf tend to be alternatives -- both are "landscape sports."

    In Scotland, hunting and fishing are sports for the wealthy, while golf is played by all classes. (Scottish golf links are built on sand dunes that are otherwise usable only for sheep grazing, so golf courses didn't cost much for the land.) In the U.S., however, golf was expensive, while hunting was cheap. But as America got richer, golf tended to win out over hunting.

  11. Maybe it's the loss of open space and increased traffic which has made finding and getting to hunting areas more difficult. Being surrounded by more and more subdivisions and strip malls drives you away from nature.

    Also, video games, TV, computers, and air conditioned comfort, gladly provided by over protective parents, have taken precedence over outdoor carousing among kids.

  12. Anonymous3:08 PM

    It sure is in decline. Is this a sign of a increasing prissiness among American men?

    No, it's a question of land access. It's gotten much harder and more expensive to get a place to hunt.

    Surveys show that the percentage of Americans interested in hunting... who'd like to try hunting someday... hasn't changed at all. It's just that fewer and fewer actually CAN.


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