With college and university students soon eyeing the conclusion of spring semesters, they can look forward to the Delta University Hunting Program returning to campuses across the United States in the fall. Through traditional classroom instruction and an actual waterfowl hunt, the innovative program teaches future wildlife management professionals about hunting’s critical role in conservation.
***Want to establish Delta’s UHP at your higher-ed institution? Email email@example.com or call (888) 987-3695***
“We look forward to again providing future wildlife leaders with valuable, hands-on experience hunting ducks and geese,” said Joel Brice, chief conservation officer for The Duck Hunters Organization. “Delta’s University Hunting Program arose because an increasing number of wildlife students — up to 70 percent — have no hunting background. We think that’s a huge problem because it can lead to ill-informed decisions not only about hunting but also about waterfowl management.”
Through program participation was curtailed by COVID-19 restrictions last fall and winter, Delta predicts its groundbreaking UHP curriculum will extend to at least 36 universities during the 2021-2022 hunting season. During the 2019-2020 season, 612 students from 24 universities participated. Delta’s ultimate goal is to offer UHP at all North American universities with wildlife and conservation majors.
To steer the initiative forward, Delta recently added Jacob Bushaw as R3 coordinator. Most recently, he worked on a cooperative R3 project between Nebraska and South Dakota developing an experimental HIP-project to encourage more new hunters to try waterfowling. Before that, Bushaw’s previous work includes experience as a summer field technician and graduate student for Delta Waterfowl. He holds a bachelor of science degree in wildlife and fisheries science from Valley City State University and a Master’s in renewable natural resources from Louisiana State University.
More importantly, Bushaw’s greatest passion is in introducing newcomers to waterfowl hunting.
“One of my favorite things is to watch their expressions when they see that first flock of ducks come in over the decoys,” he said. “That’s why I love it all — recruitment, retention and reactivation — teaching people what it means to be a duck hunter.”
One of Bushaw’s primary responsibilities will be establishing and coordinating University Hunting Programs with schools in the United States and Canada. He will work with the wildlife sciences faculty and administration to deliver classroom and field experiences to hundreds, and even thousands, of students new to waterfowl hunting each year.
Interested students and faculty in wildlife management and conservation programs are encouraged to contact Bushaw at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.