Delta Waterfowl Launches HunteR3 to Secure the Future of Duck Hunting

A bold new initiative by The Duck Hunters Organization takes an innovative approach to recruiting, retaining and reactivating waterfowl hunters in North America.

BISMARCK, NORTH DAKOTA — Delta Waterfowl announces the launch of HunteR3, an aggressive suite of programs to boost the number of waterfowl hunters in North America.

“Baby Boomers are aging out of hunting participation and they’re not being replaced,” said Joel Brice, vice president of waterfowl and hunter recruitment programs for Delta Waterfowl. “That’s a problem for duck hunters, and in turn for waterfowl conservation. Delta’s HunteR3 is the solution.”

The name “HunteR3” is derived by combining Delta’s position in the waterfowl world as “The Duck Hunters Organization” with the wildlife-agency world term “R3.” The abbreviation R3 stands for recruitment, retention and reactivation. So, HunteR3 is Delta’s programmatic initiative to recruit, retain and reactivate waterfowl hunters throughout North America.

Delta Waterfowl has worked tirelessly on R3 efforts since introducing First Hunt in 2003. Bolstered by generous grants and membership support, HunteR3 marks the next chapter — an opportunity for Delta’s hunter recruitment programs to have even greater impact.

“HunteR3 is in a unique position to reverse the hunter-numbers trend, given the enhanced resources, our expertise in R3 programming, and our constant pursuit of innovative ideas,” Brice said. “Delta defends against all threats to the future of waterfowling, and declining hunter numbers is no exception.”

Key components of HunteR3 include:

First Hunt 
Delta Waterfowl’s First Hunt is the largest waterfowl hunter recruitment program in North America. Since its inception, Delta’s volunteer chapter leaders have introduced more than 72,000 people to the ways of duck and goose hunting. In 2018, chapters across the United States and Canada hosted 263 First Hunt events with a total of 12,367 participants.

Invigorated by the continued growth of its chapter system, Delta will strive to deliver even more First Hunt events in 2019 and beyond. In addition, Delta aims to host a higher percentage of First Hunt events targeted toward young adults.

Defend the Hunt 
Delta Waterfowl serves as the “voice of the duck hunter” throughout North America, vigorously defending against threats to duck hunting opportunity anytime, anywhere. A legion of active members and volunteers alert Delta staff to issues that pose a risk to duck hunting, and Delta takes action — whether at a local, state, provincial or national level — to protect hunting. In addition, Delta works proactively with government agencies to promote sensible hunting regulations, as well as to increase access to public hunting lands. Access is key to hunter retention.

University Hunting Program 
The Delta Waterfowl University Hunting Program arose in 2017 in recognition that increasingly, many wildlife management students come from non-hunting backgrounds. These future wildlife professionals, who will use hunting license and permit revenues to manage waterfowl, need to understand the critical role hunting plays in conserving ducks and geese.

In an effort to introduce such students to waterfowl hunting, Delta is building partnerships with universities across North America that offer wildlife management degrees. The program has grown rapidly since holding five mentored hunts in 2018. At least 24 universities will take part during the 2019-2020 hunting season.

Great Lakes R3 Demonstration Facility
Delta Waterfowl is ramping up R3 programming at the Hunting Heritage and Conservation Center, the organization’s facility in Turkey Point, Ontario. The HHCC will become a hub for innovative and experimental programs targeting hunter recruitment, retention and reactivation.

Mentor Recognition Program 
Delta Waterfowl launched a Mentor Recognition Program in 2017 to raise awareness about the decline in waterfowl hunter numbers and the resulting impact of a diminishing voice. The program celebrates and recognizes the efforts of mentors who take new hunters afield with certificates and prizes. First-Duck Pins, a companion program sponsored by Realtree, awards a special pin and certificate to hunters who shoot their first duck or goose.

For more information, contact Joel Brice, vice president of waterfowl and hunter recruitment programs, at (888) 987-3695 ext. 5225 or jbrice@deltawaterfowl.org.

Delta Waterfowl Foundation is The Duck Hunters Organization, a leading conservation group working to produce ducks and ensure the tradition of duck hunting in North America. Visit deltawaterfowl.org.