Delta’s Hunter Education and Recruitment Initiative, 2016-2017

Project by the Delta Waterfowl Foundation.

Location: Norfolk County, Cornwall, Bewdley, Kingsville, ON; RMs of Portage la Prairie and MintoOdanah, MB; Queens County, PEI; Richmond / Delta / Ladner, BC.

For more information on this project, please contact Jim Fisher, Director of Conservation Policy, Winnipeg, MB.

Purpose

Delta Waterfowl proposes to engage with communities in Ontario, Manitoba, Prince Edward Island and British Columbia to recruit new hunter/conservationists. These include intensive camp programs, education days and mentored hunts.

Delta will run hunter education and conservation camps targeted at new hunters. These will focus on individuals as well as families interested in becoming waterfowl hunters/conservationists. Camps and educational efforts will run for up to six days in duration and provide a number of opportunities to learn waterfowl hunting skills and other outdoor activities. Included in this effort would be offering all courses required to become a licenced hunter (Firearm Safety, Hunter Education, Turkey Course) and many hands-on opportunities not normally offered in classroom hunting courses (range shooting, wild game cooking, decoy placement, dog training). These courses will also tie into mentored hunts offered by Delta chapters/communities in at least four provinces. Based on the success and learning of these efforts Delta, will look to expand this effort/model to additional parts of Canada in the future.

Contribution to Goal #3 of the 2012 NAWMP Revision: “Growing numbers of waterfowl hunters, other conservationists, and citizens who enjoy and actively support waterfowl and wetlands conservation.

Delta believes this effort will contribute to the number of waterfowl hunting participants in Canada directly by attracting new individuals and families. By focusing on both youth and adults, we will ensure the wherewithal of participants to continue going hunting into the future. In addition to the courses and mentored hunts, participants will establish connections with the volunteers who are long time hunters that will ensure access to hunting spots and opportunities into the future. Also, as part of these efforts is a focus on how and where new hunters can go hunting beyond these initial efforts. Another key component is the preparing, cooking and serving the ducks and geese to ensure it’s done in a way that highlights the appeal of wild game.

Included in the courses and mentored hunts is conservation education and ethics. This will highlight the importance of hunters as conservationists and the role of the many groups that contribute to waterfowl and wetland conservation in Canada. This will include local, provincial and federal government as well as non-profit organizations working on behalf of hunters.

Contribution to the conservation, restoration or enhancement of habitat

Hunters were the first conservationists and they remain firmly committed to waterfowl and wetland conservation. Our hands-on courses will train and recruit new hunters/conservationists thereby contributing to long-term habitat preservation/management and hunting advocacy. The role that hunters play in conservation will be a key focus of the courses and mentored hunts. Some of the key messages/deliverables will include:

  • The financial importance of federal and provincial license purchases to the conservation of game and non-game wildlife and their habitats.
  • Discussions on the important role farmers and ranchers play in conserving important habitats, thereby stressing the key role that private landowners play in conservation.
  • In rural areas that host mentored hunts, many of the participants will be from farm families that will gain a stronger appreciation for the waterfowl and other game that depend on healthy landscapes.
  • Hands on opportunities to contribute to conservation by deploying and/or monitoring Mallard Hen Houses and wood duck boxes in local wetlands.

Stewardship

Part of the education program will focus on the various conservation efforts of key government and non-government agencies throughout Canada. This training will focus on those agencies instrumental in conservation of waterfowl and their habitats, but will also include a broad view of wildlife conservation. This level of training will create awareness and ambassadors for wildlife conservation for years to come.

In building, installing and/or monitoring Hen Houses, the participants will get an appreciation and hands on opportunity to give back to conservation, while facilitating waterfowl reproduction. Through this process, leaders/instructors will have the opportunity to further discuss wetland conservation, private landowner contributions, and the hunter/conservationist ethic we are all so proud of!