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Rhode Island



Recruitment, Retention and Reactivation

R3 logo

The Buzz on R3

What is it?

Recruit. Retain. Reactivate (more commonly known as R3) is a national widespread movement to increase participation rates in outdoor activities such as hunting, fishing, trapping, and sports shooting.

Why is it important?

Participation in hunting and, until recently, sports shooting has been steadily declining since the 1980s. The decline in these activities, which sustain a multi-billion-dollar industry and provide the primary financial support for state-level wildlife conservation in the U.S., poses an ever-increasing threat to wildlife conservation.

Wildlife Restoration: How it Works graphic
Hunters, archers, and sports shooters provide this valuable funding for wildlife conservation through their purchase of equipment and ammunition through the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service’s Wildlife and Sport Fish Restoration program (WSFR). Additionally, they generate more matching federal funds through the purchase of their state hunting licenses and permits ($3 federal match for every $1 state contributed). “R3 is important to any Rhode Islander concerned about wildlife management, conservation and the future of traditional outdoor activities, like hunting and fishing,” says Jay Osenkowski, Deputy Chief, RI DEM Division of Fish and Wildlife. “If we continue to see a decline in individuals engaging in hunting, fishing, or sports shooting, we may be risking our future capacity to conserve RI habitat land and native species cherished by all outdoor enthusiasts.” But amid crisis lies an opportunity to ensure that wildlife conservation remains fueled by outdoor recreators such as hunters and sports shooters.

What’s next?

To sustain and increase participation, “we need to identify the complexity of challenges our current and future hunters, trappers, and sports shooters are facing here in Rhode Island and work with our stakeholders to create a Rhode Island-specific plan to address these challenges,” says Emily George, Supervising Wildlife Biologist. “We need to ask ourselves how we can build a pathway that supports lifelong hunters, and how to help the next generation start and complete that journey.”

Answering this question will require a plan in place that includes a multiple pronged approach of marketing campaigns, outreach efforts, and best practices that provide customer-centric resources such as easy-to-access and -understand information, straightforward rules and regulations, convenient licensing structure and sales processes, and increased access to places to hunt and shoot. Additionally, RI’s R3 plan will require alignment to the Council to Advance Hunting and Sports Shooting and Wildlife Management Institute “National Hunting and Sports Shooting Action Plan.” The National Hunting and Sports Shooting Action Plan prioritizes building and strengthening partnerships within the conservation community and programs and efforts necessary to establish recruitment pathways, whereby participants can be presented with an array of experiences and contacts over time that allows them to be mentored into hunting and the shooting sports. While this work can’t fall on one person’s shoulders, the Division is hiring a Hunter Recruitment, Retention, and Reactivation Specialist to serve as an R3 subject matter expert and mobilize the Rhode Island’s hunting community and stakeholders, along with RI DEM leadership and staff in developing an R3 strategic plan.
“This is an exciting time for the Division. Hunting is an American tradition, and we take serious responsibility in helping protect and preserve that tradition for current and future generations,” says Jay Osenkowski. “We hope to see our conservation community join us at the table and help identify a united approach to support, sustain, and grow the population of hunters and sports shooting participants in RI.”
Wildlife & Sport Fish Restoration logo and Council to Advance Hunting and Shooting Sports logo
Rhode Island’s R3 initiative is made possible through support from The U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service’s Wildlife and Sport Fish Restoration Program (WSFR). Those interested in staying up to date and informed on future R3 efforts and opportunities can do so by subscribing to the Division’s monthly newsletter. To subscribe, refer to the directions in the DEM Next Step Hunting Workshops section below.
Hunter with harvested pheasant. Woman at a gun range.
Northeast Association of Fish and Wildlife agencies


DEM Next Step Hunting Workshops

RI DEM Division of Fish and Wildlife offers a wide variety of free, virtual, and in-person classes and workshops to grow, practice, and strengthen hunting, archery, and sports shooting skill sets. There is a class for everyone, whether you want to learn how to hunt, have just started, or have been hunting for years and wish to share your knowledge with others.

Topics include land navigation, wild game cooking, women’s range days, and mentored hunts. All classes and workshops provide a great opportunity for anyone wishing to gain new skills in the outdoors.

Stay informed on current RIDEM Division of Fish and Wildlife program offerings:

Visit or email Madison Proulx, [email protected] for more information or to learn how to get involved.

Make a Difference: Volunteer with Hunter Education

Hunting is part of America’s heritage. To preserve this heritage, we must work hard to pass on our respect and passion of hunting and wildlife to our children and other individuals who are looking to get involved in hunting, but don’t know where to start.

While state and federal laws and agencies such as the RI DEM Division of Fish & Wildlife will help keep the heritage continuing for many years to come, we can’t do it without your support.

There are a variety of opportunities with varying commitment levels to get involved., from becoming a Hunter Education Instructor, to guest speaking at a workshop, to volunteering at an event like the Youth Wild Turkey Hunt.

Contact [email protected] to learn more.

Youth Wild Turkey Hunt Participants
Photo Credit: Desmos photos