By Zach Widner, Northwest States Senior Manager
Recently, the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife (ODFW) announced the launch of its second straight “Take-a-Friend-Hunting” contest. The program is designed to encourage experienced hunters to take at least one new or lapsed adult hunter hunting during 2018 in an effort to increase hunting participation in the state.
According to ODFW, during the program’s first year, over 1,500 mentors and mentees participated in the contest.
In order to be eligible, both the mentor and mentee must be in possession of a 2018 Oregon hunting license, and register for the contest by December 31, 2018. As noted by ODFW, “New or returning hunters are those who have never purchased an Oregon hunting license before 2018, purchased for the first time in 2017 (so hunting for the second time in 2018), or have not purchased since 2013.”
Eligibility is open to both Oregon residents and nonresidents, and mentors who register and participate with a mentored hunter will be eligible to win a wide array of prizes donated by sportsmen’s organizations and outdoor industry companies. Both Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation (CSF) and the Oregon Legislative Sportsmen’s Caucus – along with numerous others – donated items for this year’s contest.
Across the U.S., hunting participation has been generally declining since the 1980s. Hunting license sales produce critical funding each year for wildlife conservation and habitat restoration, while hunter expenditures generate billions of dollars annually for the national economy and support hundreds of thousands of jobs. Development and use of partnerships and strategic models, in tandem with a careful examination of the efficacy of existing programs, must continue to be utilized in order to reverse the declining trend in hunting participation.
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?