Fighting to Keep the Tradition of Hunting Alive
As the number of licensed hunters nationwide continued to decrease in the early 2000s, it became clear that something needed to be done to reverse that trend and preserve the tradition of hunting.
In 2009, a group of partners, including the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, State fish and wildlife agencies, and other conservation organizations went to work.
The result, the National Hunting and Shooting Sports Action Plan, was released in 2016. It outlines how to recruit, retain, and reactivate hunters and shooters. Within this plan, experts identified challenges facing new hunters and shooters. They also pointed to the need to develop programs to provide workshops and events, not only for youth, but also for other people who might be interested in trying hunting, shooting or both. As the foundation of the plan, they created a new nationwide program called R3 (Recruitment, Retention, and Reactivation).
R3 efforts focus on providing opportunities to every interested person, from those wanting to learn how to hunt or shoot to those seeking to advance their skills. These opportunities have moved beyond traditional one-day events that are typically open only to youth, to a wide variety of activities and multi-day workshops for new and experienced hunters and shooters of all ages. R3 also focuses on expanding learning opportunities for experienced hunters as well as introducing hunting to people who do not come from a traditional hunting background.
In Indiana, the DNR Division of Fish & Wildlife’s Hoosier Outdoor Heritage Program (HOH) operates the hunting, trapping, and shooting sports R3 program. The goal of HOH is to offer events and workshops that provide participants the opportunity to learn how to hunt, trap and experience shooting sports. HOH provides about 50 events and workshops a year. Single-day events, such as family dove hunts, pair participants who are new to hunting with seasoned mentors and provide high-quality hunting opportunities. Multi-day events, like the Learn to Hunt Deer workshop, provide participants with the knowledge, experience and practice they need to try deer hunting for the first time.
More information about HOH and the events offered is at wildlife.IN.gov/2701.htm
If you are interested in volunteering to be a hunting, trapping, or shooting sports mentor, email Learn2Hunt@dnr.IN.gov