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College of Forest Resources and Environmental Science


Declines in hunter numbers across the United States make hunter recruitment, retention, and reactivation (R3) a high priority for wildlife management. As wildlife management agencies and nongovernmental organizations seek to reach new audiences, college campuses present a unique opportunity to cultivate nontraditional path hunters. Despite recent proliferation of R3 initiatives, little research has evaluated effects of hunting programs on knowledge, attitudes, and behaviors of new hunters. We designed and implemented Getting Started Outdoors: Hunting 101 workshops specifically targeting college students without previous hunting experience, and we assessed workshop efficacy with a theoretically-grounded approach to workshop evaluation. Using quantitative and qualitative analysis of surveys conducted before, shortly after, and 12–18 months after workshops, we assessed impacts of R3 efforts at large public universities in 16 different U.S. states. Across all states, 19 workshops attracted 314 total participants, with 255 completing both pre- and post-workshop assessments and 133 completing the follow-up surveys. Workshops significantly increased participants' confidence in hunting, reduced barriers related to inadequate knowledge and skills, and fostered positive views of hunters and hunting. Immediately after workshops, most participants said they would definitely (50%) or probably (34%) hunt in the future; 82% said they would likely (or very likely) purchase a hunting license. Over one year after the workshops, 34% of workshop participants reported having hunted, and another 45% said they would probably hunt in the future. Overall, workshops attracted a diverse population of potential hunters, increased interest in future hunting, and created hunting advocates. Findings highlight the potentially powerful impact that R3 programs focused on diverse college students can have on the future of hunting across the United States.

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© 2023 The Authors. Wildlife Society Bulletin published by Wiley Periodicals LLC on behalf of The Wildlife Society. Publisher’s version of record:

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Wildlife Society Bulletin

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Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.


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