EDGEFIELD, S.C. — The National Wild Turkey Federation is concerned with the 16-percent decrease in hunting participation reported in the U.S Fish and Wildlife Service’s 2016 National Survey of Fishing, Hunting and Wildlife-Associated Recreation, but is optimistic that increased hunting-related Recruitment, Retention and Reactivation programs are a viable solution to reach the 101.6 million ages 16 and up who enjoyed outdoor recreation in 2016.
“The NWTF has championed R3 hunting efforts and will continue to do so knowing that hunting participation and funding for wildlife conservation are tied together,” said NWTF CEO Becky Humphries. “We have helped establish R3 coordinators in several states who are already making a difference, we are collaborating with industry partners to develop programing aimed at reaching families, college students and military and we are advocating for policy changes in Washington to preserve wild places and wildlife. Working together, we will be sure to Save the Habitat. Save the Hunt.”
Though preliminary findings report hunting participation dropped from 13.7 million to 11.5 million and hunting-related purchases fell 29 percent to $25.6 billion, not all news was grim. Fishing participation grew 2.7 million to a total of 35.8 million, and a newly reported metric showed target shooting and archery participation accounted for nearly 45 million individuals.
“[These] recreational shooters now pay for a much larger segment of conservation fundinG. We must recognize and encourage their outdoor pursuits,” said Humphries. “In addition, R3 efforts can and should target the shooting community to help turn the tide on decreasing number of hunters because those involved in shooting sports already have overcome one of the most common barriers into hunting due to their proven comfort level with firearms.”
View the preliminary report by visiting https://wsfrprograms.fws.gov/Subpages/NationalSurvey/nat_survey2016.pdf
About the National Wild Turkey Federation
When the National Wild Turkey Federation was founded in 1973, there were about 1.3 million wild turkeys in North America. After decades of work, that number hit a historic high of almost 7 million turkeys. To succeed, the NWTF stood behind science-based conservation and hunters’ rights. Today, the NWTF is focused on the future of hunting and conservation through its Save the Habitat. Save the Hunt. initiative – a charge that mobilizes science, fundraising and devoted volunteers to conserve or enhance more than 4 million acres of essential wildlife habitat, recruit at least 1.5 million hunters and open access to 500,000 acres for hunting. For more information, visit NWTF.org.