MADISON, Wis. -- Classroom desks and office cubicles stand empty. Hunters in blaze orange stand out like drops of bright paint against brown fields. Pub parking lots are crowded with pickup trucks draped with deer carcasses.
This is Wisconsin's gun deer season, a tradition as engrained in this rugged state's identity as beer, brats and cheese. But as the years slide by, fewer people seem to care.
Hunting's popularity has waned across much of the country as housing tracts replace forests, aging hunters hang up their guns and kids plop down in front of Facebook rather than venture outside.
The falloff could have far-reaching consequences, hunting enthusiasts say. Fewer hunters mean less revenue for a multi-billion dollar industry and government conservation efforts. It also signals what could be the beginning of the end of an American tradition.