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John Maxwell/Indiana DNR
A critical link exists between hunting and wildlife conservation. From all measures, the user-pays system of wildlife conservation in North America has more than fulfilled the dreams of its early founders. However, that system is showing signs of wear. Hunting license sales are generally in decline nationwide, which has consequences for long-term conservation efforts. Those consequences could potentially impact not just funding and political support for wildlife conservation, but important parts of the American fabric of life and rural culture.
With the support of hunters, current populations of game species have been restored to abundant levels. These populations now provide the foundation for millions of days of hunting recreation, millions of pounds of high quality food and billions of dollars in economic activity. But what about tomorrow? What will happen if hunters are no longer available to provide this vital support to long-term wildlife conservation?
A tremendous volume of knowledge regarding the factors that influence hunters’ behaviors has accumulated in the past several decades through scientific research, surveys and reports. Supported by a grant from the Council to Advance Hunting and the Shooting Sports, a new and unique searchable database of hunter recruitment and retention research is now available to aid agencies and organizations in their fight to sustain the North American hunting heritage. This new, electronic compilation of literature includes references to surveys, technical reports, symposia transactions and academic studies pertaining to hunter recruitment and retention. In addition to search functions such as author, title and publication, users can utilize an advanced search option that incorporates a comprehensive system of topical search filters.
Data and research from the Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies, the Wildlife Management Institute, and the Vermont Law School Land Use Institute has been pooled to create a comprehensive clearing-house of legal information for landowners, natural resource managers, and policymakers.
You can access the public access and trespass laws database to view any state's laws while also examining past court cases, and peruse summaries of financial incentives each state provides. The ten recreation statutes most favorable to landowner protection are listed, along with model state language designed to shield landowners from liability for injuries sustained by recreational land users.
In conjunction with the development of the National Hunting Heritage Strategic Plan, comprehensive assessments of the key areas of hunter recruitment/retention and access activities were conducted by the Wildlife Management Institute (WMI),along with D.J. Case and Associates, in the first half of 2009. The results include both summarized and full reports of the associated surveys, bibliographies, and summaries of key research findings.
Use HuntingHeritage.org to exchange information about your hunting recruitment, retention, outreach and public access efforts.
If you conduct a hunting/shooting recruitment or retention program (workshop, event, class, training materials, video... anything), please share your program here.