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Tuesday, October 18 • 8:40am - 9:00am
Education/Outreach. Colleges and universities: A promising “habitat” for hunter recruitment and retention?

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AUTHORS: Brett Stayton, Clemson University; Lincoln R. Larson, Clemson University; Ryan L. Sharp, Kansas State University; Adam Ahlers, Kansas State University

ABSTRACT: Declining participation in hunting, driven in part by decreasing numbers of young adult hunters, is a major concern for wildlife agencies that rely on hunting to achieve management objectives and generate revenue for conservation. We focused on a key population of young adults, college students, to examine their hunting-related beliefs, attitudes, intentions, and behaviors. During Spring 2016, we conducted a web-based survey of a random, representative sample of undergraduate students at two major land grant universities in the southeastern United States: one in the Southeast (n=764) and one in the Midwest (n=4,864). We found a higher hunting participation rate than anticipated, with 39-41% of the respondents at both schools reporting previous hunting experience. (Non-response bias checks confirmed this participation rate.) About 32-35% of respondents indicated they would consider hunting in the future, and 71-72% said they approved or strongly approved of hunting. Prominent barriers to hunting included a preference for other recreation activities, lack of free time, and a lack of knowledge/skills required to hunt and prepare game meat. Wildlife conservation was important to more than 80% of respondents at both schools. Results have significant implications for hunter recruitment and retention (HRR). Although most college students do not hunt, they approve of hunting and support conservation. Almost 2/3 of non-hunters indicated they would consider hunting in the future. Our analysis highlights social and environmental correlates of hunting participation (and support) among college students and offers insights that should inform the development of young hunters and hunting advocates.

Tuesday October 18, 2016 8:40am - 9:00am

Attendees (13)