Recruiting, Retaining, and Re-Engaging New Hunters in Illinois By Creating an Adult Learn to Hunt Program

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaperpeer-review


Illinois hunters have long been faced with common constraints to hunting, lending to a state- and nationwide decline in hunter numbers. In 2017 the Illinois Department of Natural Resources and the Illinois Natural History Survey came together to pilot an adult hunter recruitment workshop series. Adults are the target audience for several reasons, including control of disposable income, decision-making abilities, potential to mentor youths and other adults almost immediately, and involvement in legislation about hunting and conservation. These 2-day events aimed to address constrains to hunting like not knowing where to hunt, how to begin, or why hunting is important. From the first year of workshops, we found 69% of participants had friends or family who hunted, 94% were interested in hunting for reasons associated with being in nature, and there was a significant increase of people interested in squirrel hunting after they had experienced a squirrel hunt during the workshop (χ2=0.001). A series of changes to the workshop structure and content will occur in 2018 to resolve issues encountered during the 2017 season. This presentation will delve into program successes and needed improvements, and serve as an educational opportunity for other state hunter recruitment programs aiming to use a science-based approach to recruit new hunters, retain current hunters, and re-engage lapsed hunters (R3).
Original languageEnglish (US)
StatePublished - 2018
EventThe Wildlife Society 2018 Annual Conference - Cleveland, United States
Duration: Oct 7 2018Oct 11 2018
Conference number: 25


ConferenceThe Wildlife Society 2018 Annual Conference
Abbreviated title2018 TWS Annual Conference
Country/TerritoryUnited States


  • INHS


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