A city outside of Tokyo now offers courses to educate locals on how to make a living through hunting. The city of Kimitsu is presenting a rare opportunity for the local government to formally teach hunting and cooking game.

But, it took a blunder to bring this need to light.

After the city of Kimitsu lost more than $4 million due to agricultural damage in 2017, the government called for the capture of over 4,000 boar and deer. However, most of the game had to be disposed of because the city only had three meat processors, which were not set up to accommodate the sudden demand.

Learning from the mistake, the city saw the chance to make hunting and game meat into a justified business.

Students in the new program range from 20-70 years of age, showing that this new model will benefit all generations. They learn everything from regulations to how many people can be fed from one pheasant. Officials plan to provide these courses through the future, showing its commitment to hunting education.

Kimitsu’s issue is not an isolated case. It reflects anationally known problem in Japan: the lack of new hunters coupled with increasing wildlife populations.

Since the late 1990s, the deer population in Japan has grown from less than 400,000 to more than three million. In the same time, the boar population has also doubled. However, the number of hunters has not followed the demand.

Japanese governments have observed that the average hunting age continues to increase, meaning that once the majority of hunters retire from the sport, the number of hunters will be greatly affected. With only 1 percent of registered hunters being female, the government has supported women in hunting initiatives to help with recruitment.

These and many other efforts are making progress, but it is hard to overcome stigmas, as it was once impolite for a female to even speak with a man before he left for a hunt.

Source: Japan World, Reuters, and Business Insider