NWTF-participating workgroup honored for national R3 efforts

(National R3 Implementation Workgroup gathers during the 2019 meetings. Credit: CAHSS)

EDGEFIELD, S.C. — A national workgroup in which NWTF participates was recently honored for its work furthering the recruitment, retention and reactivation (R3) of hunters and other outdoor enthusiasts. 

The Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies honored partners in the National R3 Implementation Workgroup with the 2020 Special Recognition Award during the organization’s annual meeting recently. The Council to Advance Hunting and Shooting Sports developed the workgroup, which includes the NWTF. 

AFWA, an association of state and federal wildlife and conservation agency professionals from across the country, presented the award to the workgroup for its collaborative efforts to educate the public and policy makers, create a national plan and implement ways to halt the downward trend of hunter numbers by developing strategies to increase participation in hunting, recreational shooting and other outdoor pursuits.

The NWTF was a founding member of the Council to Advance Hunting and Shooting Sports — comprised of professionals from federal and state agencies, nonprofit organizations and the outdoor recreation industry — and has been at the forefront of R3 research, strategic planning and programmatic testing from the national level to the grassroots level. 

“The NWTF recognized more than a decade ago that the decline in hunting participation could have catastrophic impacts on conservation funding and our outdoor lifestyles,” said Mandy Harling, NWTF national director of Hunting Heritage Programs and the NWTF’s representative to the workgroup. “We consider our participation in the workgroup vital to protect the future of conservation and preserve the power of the hunter’s voice nationwide.”

The workgroup’s report on 10 key R3 Implementation Priorities was used as critical evidence in Congress during the discussions for the Pittman-Robertson Modernization Act in 2019 and has helped to secure more than $7 million in grant funding for national and regional R3 efforts. 

“The workgroup’s passionate labor is making a difference, and it wouldn’t be possible without many partners banding together to tackle the issue of hunter decline,” NWTF CEO Becky Humphries said. “We’re proud to be in the vanguard of the R3 movement and to preserve the viability of the North American Model of Wildlife Conservation, in which hunters are key to its success.”

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.