Message From the Assistant Director
Hunting is part of our Washington heritage. It is a way of life for many Washingtonians and provides not only sustenance, but also added mental and physical advantages.
For the past year, we at the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife have embarked on an effort to create a plan to help recruit, reactivate, and retain (R3) both hunters and anglers in Washington.
This plan is intended to promote and preserve the hunting and fishing heritage in Washington. By recruiting, retaining, and reactivating hunters and fishers for these activities, we hope to secure a prosperous future for the public engaged in these activities, and to ensure that these activities are open and accessible to all that might be interested.
The Department’s 25-year strategic plan identifies the development of a R3 plan for hunters, anglers, and nature appreciators as a near-term action under the strategy Engage communities through recreation and stewardship.
Building upon existing R3 plans and efforts, this plan contains strategies and tactics to address hunter and angler recruitment, retention, and reactivation for all demographics, as well as strategies specifically focused on underrepresented communities and diverse audiences.
We are excited to publish this plan in Fall 2022 and encourage new participation in the activities we value so much. We will be looking for opportunities to partner, mentor, and pass the hunting heritage on for current and future generations.
Small game hunting offers great opportunities for people to establish or rekindle their passion for hunting. The seasons are predictable and are not limited by special permit opportunities. It is possible to hunt small game without a significant investment in equipment or time, as compared to a big game hunt that may involve hours, if not days of planning, and then an extended stay away from home or work.
For many of us, hunting small game was our first hunting experience. This allowed us to become familiar with the state’s licensing and related hunting regulations and learn important hunting safety and ethics lessons that are carried with us if we also explore big game hunting.
Having lived in four states all with different opportunities, rules and regulations, terrain, and access, I know first-hand the value of this thing called R3. It is not easy to become a hunter, and it can be even harder to stay one when constantly re-prioritizing our time and investments as we go through life.
Establishing hunting as a core value certainly helps. But, I find that the inspiration and support the hunting community provides is a priceless commodity that must be shared often and freely if we are going to not only recruit but retain and reactivate hunters. We hope that you are as excited to see this plan implemented as we are.
We hope that you have a safe and enjoyable hunting experience, and if you’re successful, that you enjoy the results of your harvest. Thank you for choosing to hunt in Washington!