There are kids who claim to hunt, and there's Seth Roddey.
"A bunch of kids are just wannabes," said Roddey, a grizzled Rock Hill woodsman at 10 years old. "(They) say they want to hunt, but they never do."
Seth is no wannabe. He and some buddies on the Rocky Creek Clay Dusters, a local sporting clay shooting team, say they've dropped dove, ducks, turkeys, squirrels and quail.
"I've already got a deer head on my wall," Seth said.
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He's not alone. While many national reports and hunting experts say the sport's popularity is declining, particularly among young people, some evidence suggests that's changing in the Palmetto state.
Hunting license sales for 16- and 17-year-olds statewide rose by more than 1,300 from 2001 through 2007, according to the S.C. Department of Natural Resources. Locally, sales also have increased, rising from 170 in York County five years ago to 215 at the beginning of this month.
Several local hunting supply stores have seen a growing interest in hunter education courses from young people.
"I'd like to think that they're getting tired of video games and everything else," said Ted Cole of Ted's Hunting & Fishing in Clover. "I'd like to think they're starting to look back at the outdoors and think that, 'Hey, that's pretty interesting.' And I'd like to think also that dads are starting to spend time with their children again."
S.C. DNR has seen a steady decline in the number of general hunting licenses sold over the past 10 years. Although last year's sales were up 1,609 from 2006, they were 8,205 below 2003 figures.
Sales of the license for 16- and 17-year-olds, called the junior sportsman license, plummeted statewide from 5,861 in 1986 to 2,586 in 2001. But since then, those figures have been swelling.
"I think there's still somewhat of a decline in getting the youngsters into hunting and fishing like we used to," said Darren Nichols, owner of Nichols Store on S.C. 901. "There's too much other extracurricular activities for 'em now, whether it be sitting behind computers and playing games all the time or paintballs, or stuff that we didn't have when we was growing up. ... I hate to say it, but kick him off the couch and make sure he gets out in the woods."
Some local hunting experts believe a population increase could be the reason for the higher number of young hunters, particularly in York County. Since 2000, the county has grown by more than 44,000 people -- or nearly 27 percent.
"It could be the obvious," said Sgt. Todd Campbell, who oversees the S.C. DNR unit that covers York, Chester and Lancaster counties. "We have a lot more kids turning 16 in the past couple years than we had before. It could've been like a miniature baby-boom thing in the state. ... Or it could be like what I think, it's more people getting involved. That would be the ideal thing."
In recent years, S.C. DNR has been involved in many local programs that promote outdoor interests among young people, Campbell said. He cited a national archery program in which some local middle schools now participate. That initiative involves training physical education instructors to teach archery.
Campbell also said he's heard of more churches hosting wild game suppers, where the keynote speakers are avid hunters or fishermen. And he's had more schools requesting wildlife officers to speak to students about their work.
"Anything to get them in the outdoors is what we're trying to push," Campbell said. "We're not telling people to go buy a gun and go kill a deer."
Another effort that's caused a buzz in the local hunting community is the Clay Dusters shooting team, which area outdoorsmen see as key to getting more youngsters off the couch.
So far, it's working.
"Video games -- you can play those almost all the time," said 15-year-old duster Wes Chesnutt of Rock Hill. "Hunting -- you can't do it that much, and there's not always a guarantee (of shooting something)."