The Wisconsin DNR is looking to increase deer hunter numbers through a new retention and recruiting program.
The Wisconsin DNR is looking to increase deer hunter numbers via a program called R3. R3 stands for the recruitment, retention, and reactivation of hunters and has its sights on attracting newcomers and bolstering current hunter numbers.
The coordinator for Hunting and Shooting Sports with the DNR, Keith Warnke, spoke to the importance of addressing hunter recruitment and retention.
“Current hunters, just as a demographic group, are just having essentially fewer children and grandchildren to get involved. It’s tough to continue down that path and think we’re going to stay above water,” he said.
Warnke also indicated they have been gaining some headway by recruiting new hunters through conservation discussions that highlight how deer provide a sustainable food source that is readily available.
“And if we offer to teach adults how to do that, we find that they’ve really taken an interest in getting started doing it, but they definitely do need training,” said Warnke.
The DNR is also exploring other ways to bring in newer hunters, bring back people who hunted but gave up over the years, and increase the participation of casual deer hunters. There is an estimated million whitetail hunters in the state but only 2/3rd of them buy a license each year. Factors such as hunter dissatisfaction with their overall hunting experience, aging and loss of hunting partners may be contributing to declining hunter participation and this is something the R3 program will look to amend in the coming years.
Bolstering deer hunter numbers remains critically important to the core funding of the DNR, deer conservation and whitetail population control and the R3 program is taking the right steps forward.