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    • Who participates in Learn toHunt and what it means for our future By: Jason Kool Robert Holsman, UWSP
    • Outline • The Learn to Hunt Program • Program Evaluation • Is the Program Effective? • Key Findings • Recommendations • Next StepsPhoto courtesy of Mark HirschPhotography
    • Background on Wisconsin’s Hunting Heritage• Among Wisconsin Hunters… – 92% hunt deer (550,000+) – 22% Wild turkey – 11% Migratory birds – 32% Small game • Pheasant—117,000 • Grouse – 77,000 • Rabbit 67,000 • Squirrel 60,000
    • A Strong Hunting Heritage at Risk• Wisconsin ranks 4th in hunting license sales• 2008 study predicts 25% decline by 2025• 2001 study indicated a 0.53 replacement ratio
    • What is Learn to Hunt?• A formal mentored hunting workshop… – Hunter Safety Certification is not required – Free license/tag for all participant hunters – One to One mentor / participant ratio
    • What is Learn to Hunt?• Each LTH event has… – Minimum 4 hours of classroom time • Firearms safety briefing • Technical hunting skills and methods training • Species ecology and management education – Field Hunt
    • Species Number of events on our record in 2010Wild Turkey 63Pheasant 14Gun Deer 6Waterfowl 5Bear 3Dove 1Bow Deer 1Total 93
    • Program Evaluation• Assess program “effectiveness”• Mixed methods – Mentor focus groups – Interviews of past participants – Surveys to 2010 participants – Participant observation
    • What is the goal of Learn to Hunt? “Provide a safe andpositive first time hunting experience with a qualified mentor.” Photo courtesy of Mark Hirsch Photography
    • Is Learn to Hunt “Effective”?• 2006-2007 Learn to Hunt Participants – Bought licenses the following year at a rate of 91-96%!
    • Is Learn to Hunt “Effective?”• The Learn to Hunt program is “effective!” – Happy photos guide belief that program is “being effective” – 4.1 rating on 5 point scale
    • “Effective” at What?
    • Effective at Finding Hunters• Participants had hunted before to coming to LTH – 70% of Spring participants hunted before LTH – 40% of Fall participants hunted before LTH• 78% of Spring LTH Participant Dad’s hunt• 83% of Fall LTH Participant Dad’s hunt
    • Effective at Finding Hunters • Participants are coming from AVID hunting families Number of Prior Hunting Activities 20% 18% 18% 16% 16% 16% 15%Percent of Participants 14% 13% 12% 11% 11% 10% 10% 10% 10% 9% 9% 8% 8% 6% Spring 2010 LTH 6% 5% 5% 4% 4% 4% 4% Fall 2010 4% 3% LTH 2% 3% 2% 1% 1% 1% 0% 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 Number of Activities
    • Effective at Finding Hunters• Program sponsors tend to recruit participants from hunter safety classes• Why? – Uneasiness with accepting uncertified participants – It’s convenient – Haven’t thought about the need to broaden reach – Lack ability to attract new audience
    • Effective at Finding Hunters• Youth from hunting backgrounds– “The Choir” • Already get exposure • Probably have family support • Likely come from rural areas (cultural supported) – May be at-risk of non-initiation anyway • Parental desertion or churn • Changing view of parent’s role (others teach your kids) • May not want to forego own opportunity to invest • Provide experience that they can’t
    • Effective as a “Guided Hunt”• Go to an event• Meet a stranger• Go on a morning, afternoon or weekend hunt – Hunt on private property lined up by “mentor” – Taxi v. Drivers Ed. Photo courtesy of Mark Hirsch Photography
    • Effective at Recruiting Youth Ages of 2010 LTH Participants 60.00% 56% 50% 50.00%Percent of Participants 40.00% Spring 2010 36% LTH 30.00% 29% Fall 2010 LTH 20.00% 10.00% 7% 5% 5% 3% 2% 2% 3% 1% 0.00% 9-11yrs 12-15yrs 16-20 yrs 21-30yrs 31-40 yrs 40+ yrs Years
    • Other Key Findings• I’m interested in hunting because… 1) I want to spend time outside- 86% 2) I want to spend time with family- 85% 3) I want to use different types of equipment- 85% 4) I think I could be good at it- 83% 5) I want to learn more about wildlife- 80%
    • Other Key Findings• Technology use – 49% have a Facebook profile – 68% use YouTube to watch videos• Unsure about joining online “friends” group – 31% Yes – 39% Unsure – 29% No Photo courtesy of Mark Hirsch Photography
    • Other Findings • Males are the primary participants 2010 LTH Participants 500Number of Participants 450 Spring 400 2010 350 LTH 300 250 200 Fall 150 2010 100 LTH 50 0 Male Female Gender
    • Declining Hunters LLTH Program LInputs Outputs Outcomes•Marketing •Hold events•Reimbursements •1,000+ participate •???????•Gear donations •Positive •Continuation•Volunteers experiences•Special seasons Enjoyment Confidence Motivation
    • So where should we focus?
    • Who is the target audience?• Youth from non-hunting backgrounds– “True youth novices” – What happens to them after event? • No money • Can’t drive • Lack behavioral autonomy to make own decisions • Apprenticeship far from completed – Limited duration programs should not target this group • Either need to change format to longer duration • Or pick a different audience
    • Who is the target audience?• Adults from non-hunting backgrounds – Cuts against the grain of tradition • “Hunters come from hunting families” • Less common to acquire hobbies in adulthood – May be harder to find participants• Have money, can drive, behavioral control• Also may be raising kids
    • Youth Adults Non-white youth Non-white adults with without familial limited hunter-social hunters network Without familial Locavores/Foodies hunterswith non-hunting Have parents/parent(s), but close siblings hunthunting relative Who have co- With infrequent workers who hunt hunting parentsWith avid hunting Who already fishparent (one) Spouses of Youth with avid existing hunting parents hunters (both)
    • Don’t Forget Those Closest To You Photo courtesy of Delta Waterfowl First Hunt Mentor Manual (pg 20)
    • Four recommendations:1) Develop measurable outcomes2) Prioritize audience segments3) Move from guides to mentors4) Learner-centered education
    • 1) Develop Measurable Outcomes• Is it to increase license sales?• Is it to provide exposure to hunting?• Is it to bring in a new non-traditional audience?• Is it to retain the base we have in the activity?• Is it all these things?
    • 2) Prioritize Audience Segments• Learn to Hunt inadvertently branded as “youth hunts” – Participants recruitment reinforces this image – Many events held in conjunction with youth seasons
    • 2) Prioritize Audience Segments• Program logic of youth intervention fails without support – Lack income – Can’t drive – Lack autonomy Photo courtesy of Mark Hirsch Photography• Don’t forget the adults
    • 3) Move from “Guides” to “Mentors” • True mentoring requires extended multiple contacts • True mentoring requires the building of a relationship • Effective mentoring needs a long-term commitment – Research shows only way to “create a hunter” • Keep parents involved
    • 4) Learner Centered Education• Understand “one-shot” wonders play a limited role in “becoming a hunter”• Focus on “becoming a hunter” rather than “going hunting”• Age appropriate teaching methods and activities
    • Photo courtesy of Mark Hirsch Photography So What’s Next?  WI DNR 1.5 positions  Sabbatical- develop a planning process  2nd Hunting Heritage Conference  Follow up survey of participants in 5 years
    • This project is supported by the 2010 Hunting HeritagePartnership, a grant program of the National Shooting Sports Foundation, Inc.
    • Questions• Robert Holsman, Ph.D – UW- Stevens Point – Associate Professor of Wildlife – rholsman@uwsp.edu – (715) 346-4546• Jason Kool – South Dakota Game, Fish and Parks – Recruitment and Retention Coordinator – jason.kool@state.sd.us – (605) 773-8162