The Decline of Hunting and Fishing
Previous research suggests a significant decline in hunting and angling participation within the next decade. By 2028, state wildlife agencies and other conservation organizations may potentially face great challenges in revenue shortages, loss of political capital, and shrinking social relevancy. Yet little is known about hunter and angler demography. In order for recruitment, retention, and reactivation efforts to counteract hunting and fishing participation declines, it is critical that decision makers understand the fundamental causes leading to these declines so that the conservation community can prepare for, and possibly prevent, a potential reduction in conservation funding. This study partnered with CAHSS to demonstrate that hunting and fishing are not tied to a specific life stages; rather, there is a cohort of people moving through different life stages that have experienced high participation rates throughout their lives. The implication of this is that the conservation community could see declining revenue as soon as 2024 if this problem is not addressed.
Nevada’s License Simplification
The complexity of the licensing and regulations is one of the biggest factors that prevent would-be hunters and anglers from participating in these activities, because they are fearful of inadvertently breaking the law. This major contributor to attrition is concerning to state wildlife agencies given the historical, cultural, and financial inter-dependencies with hunting and fishing. Therefore, we joined forces with Nevada Department of Wildlife to simplify license options. First, we conducted a comparative analysis to see how Nevada compared to its surrounding states. We then conducted extensive data mining of Nevada’s license database to glean information that will form the subsequent models of funding, confirm our findings, or inform our successive research. Then we held six focus groups around the state to gain insight and a depth of understanding into the psyche of Nevada customers. Finally, we conducted a robust, scientifically-valid survey, to give information about Nevada’s customers to boards, commissions, and legislators. As of August 2018, hunting license sales are up 22%, and fishing license sales are up 39.5%.
TWS Strategic Plan
We were lucky to join forces with Ann Forstchen from Florida to facilitate the formation of The Wildlife Society’s Strategic plan. Ann and I held weekly meetings with TWS leadership in the week leading up to the annual meeting in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. At first we extricated the current challenges TWS faced, helped the council establish their desired future condition. Then we helped the council articulate the goals, objectives, and tasks that TWS would need to take to get them to their desired future. In the words of TWS:
“This was probably the best facilitated meeting in my career. Dr Chase’s combined knowledge of fish and wildlife management and of The Wildlife Society’s structure and operations allowed the workshop to flow smoothly” Gary White, TWS President 2019
“It was a pleasure to work with Loren and I look forward to continuing our collaboration as we take the next steps in formatting our strategic plan. Great Results, Personable, Expert.” Darryl Walter, TWS Director of Operations
Effectiveness of Hunter Education
For this project, it was our pleasure to unite with Matt Dunfee of the Wildlife Management Institute to construct a research design to evaluate the effectiveness of Hunter Education for the International Hunter Education Association. Each state has various delivery methods of Hunter Education, but little data are available to help administrators develop hunter education that incorporates new advances in online course delivery. Therefore we joined the IHEA-USA research committee and the Wildlife Management Institute to design a full research protocol to evaluate the effectiveness of hunt education courses provided in different curricula delivery formats, and to determine how various factors interact with the characteristics or demographics of participants.