By Joel Hodgdon, Central Midwestern States Coordinator
From May 21-23, the Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation’s (CSF) Central Midwestern States Coordinator Joel Hodgdon attended the inaugural National R3 Symposium, focused on hunter and angler recruitment, retention and reactivation (referred to as R3).
The conference brought together representatives from sportsmen and women’s groups, industry allies, and state fish and wildlife agency professionals for discussions about the resources and partnerships needed to secure the future of hunting, angling and recreational shooting via R3. This three-day event was hosted by the Council to Advance Hunting and the Shooting Sports (CAHSS) in Lincoln, Nebraska. CSF President Jeff Crane serves as a board member of CAHSS.
Nebraska Game and Parks Commission Director Jim Douglas welcomed attendees to the event. “We are committed to recruiting, retaining and reactivating our outdoorsmen and women and cultivating our next generation of conservationists. This effort will require dedication, forward thinking, and innovation, including public-private partnerships and collaboration,” said Director Douglas. “Together, we can preserve our time-honored traditions that are important to the people, the wildlife and the wild places of our nation.”
Sessions at the conference included discussions on the future of the hunting and fishing industries, how to employ data to increase R3 success, the roles of marketing and mentoring in R3, organizational change and strategic partnerships for the benefit of R3, a recap of the R3 effort’s progress, and a look forward at the future of the effort.
“The National R3 Symposium provided an unparalleled opportunity for state and federal fish and wildlife agencies, outdoor recreation industries and conservation organizations to share, learn and develop opportunities for our community to advance and accelerate the current state of R3 efforts,” said John Frampton, President/CEO of CAHSS.
Over 25 organizations sponsored the event, representing broad support for the R3 movement from across the country. Among the sponsors are a number of CSF’s partners, including the Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies, Bass Pro Shops, Boone and Crockett Club, Cabela’s, Ducks Unlimited, Federal Premium Ammunition, National Marine Manufacturers Association, National Shooting Sports Foundation, National Wild Turkey Federation, Pheasants Forever/Quail Forever, Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation, and Safari Club International.
Studies conducted at both the state and federal level have found that the number of hunters and trappers have been on a generally declining trend over the past several decades. To increase recruitment, retention, and reactivation (R3) of hunters and trappers, which initiative do you think would have the greatest impact?