In recent years, the awareness of declining trends in hunting license sales and hunting participation rates has spawned an increase in activities related the recruitment of new hunters and retention of existing ones. However, details regarding the nature or geographic extent of these activities have not been fully documented. To date, no comprehensive assessment of recruitment and retention activities has been conducted.
One of the many actions taken by the hunting community to address the national decline of hunters was to create a Hunting Heritage Steering Committee (Steering Committee). This committee provided national level oversight to a series of Governor's Symposia on Hunting Heritage (held on a two- to three-year cycle) that strove to identify a host of actions being conducted to reverse negative hunter participation trends while outlining additional actions needed. After several successful Symposia, the Steering Committee concluded that a National Hunting Heritage Strategic Plan (Strategic Plan) was needed.
In 2005, WMI obtained an Association of Fish and Wildlife Agency/US Fish and Wildlife Service Multi-State Conservation Grant to begin an effort to develop a National Hunting Heritage Strategic Plan (Strategic Plan) and conduct an assessment of recruitment and retention (R&R) programs. Funds from the grant were supplemented with contributions from the Steering Committee and other groups dedicated to support this effort. WMI retained the services of D. J. Case and Associates (DJ Case) to assist in this effort. An additional assessment of access programs is also being conducted by DJ Case for WMI.