A pair of grants from Wildlife Habitat Canada are helping Delta Waterfowl boost hunter recruitment across Canada, while also maintaining the organization’s fleet of mallard-producing Hen Houses.
A $100,000 grant supports Delta’s hunter-recruitment efforts throughout Canada, including First Hunt, the largest waterfowl-specific hunter recruitment program in North America. Thirty mentored First Hunt events are planned this fall in 10 provinces, as well as 25 hunter-education summer camps. Combined, Delta will directly recruit more than 1,000 new Canadian hunters thanks largely to chapter volunteers in each province. WHC’s support also allows Delta to continue outreach efforts aimed at awareness of hunter opportunities and access in all Canadian provinces. Examples include promoting hunter apprentice licensing, reducing minimum hunting age requirements to 10 and eliminating Sunday hunting restrictions in the Maritimes.
“The goal of the grant is to reverse the declining numbers of waterfowl hunters in Canada,” said Jim Fisher, senior director of Canadian conservation and hunting policy for Delta Waterfowl. “Hunter recruitment and regulatory change are critical to enhancing the future of duck hunting in Canada, and WHC’s funding is helping Delta lead the charge.”
Additionally, a $50,000 WHC grant will maintain 900 of Delta’s Hen Houses across Ontario, Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Alberta, ensuring mallard hens have safer, more productive places to nest. Research has shown that mallards using Hen Houses average 70 percent nest success, making them the most cost-effective way we have to produce mallards. In some intensely farmed regions of Canada, hens nesting in Hen Houses are 12 times more likely to hatch a nest than those nesting in the grass. Delta has more than 8,000 Hen Houses in Canada and the United States, which produce an estimated 40,000 hatched ducklings annually.
WHC funding comes from sales of the Canadian Wildlife Habitat Conservation Stamp and Print, a.k.a. Canada’s “duck stamp.” WHC offers grants to conserve, restore and enhance wildlife habitat, foster conservation leadership, promote the conservation contributions of waterfowl hunters, and encourage waterfowl hunting participation.
“We greatly appreciate WHC’s generous support of Delta Waterfowl’s mission,” Fisher said. “These grants will go far in giving a boost to ducks and duck hunters.”
For more information about purchasing the Canadian Wildlife Habitat Conservation Stamp and Print, visit whc.org. — Kyle Wintersteen