Japan’s infamous aging population can have very specific effects on the country, and one of them is that the male hunting population has grown old, and the younger men have not taken to the activity all that much. Since 1970, Japan’s hunter numbers have fallen by more than half, and of the 200,000 or so remaining, 65% are men over the age of 60. As a consequence, the country’s wild boar and deer population is ever-increasing, to destructive effect. But an unlikely segment of Japanese society is now stepping up to hunt down these critters – the nation’s hunting women.
Though still tiny minority, Japanese women in their 20s and 30s are emerging as one of the hunting populations whose numbers are growing or staying the same. Women hunters of Hokkaido, whose numbers are on the rise, even have their own blog, “The Women In Nature,” with the tagline “shoot & eat.” Apparently, part of the attraction for women hunters is being able to come home with delicious food, which is always a good thing.
This is very much good news for Japan’s Ministry of Environment, as they have been fighting the exploding populations of deer and wild boar for years now. These specific wild animals have caused an estimated 20 billion yen (around US$200 million) of damage per year since 2009. Deer eat foliage and shrubs, increasing the probability of mud slides. They also cause traffic accidents and damage crops. Boars eat crops too, and are an increasing problem in Fukushima prefecture. In the wake of the disaster, the area was evacuated, allowing wild boar populations to overrun the area.