Manitoba Mentored Hunt Program; Communications Campaign
The Manitoba Mentored Hunt Partnership is a provincial initiative geared towards hunter recruitment and retention. The
Partnership consists of representatives from Manitoba Conservation and Water Stewardship, Ducks Unlimited Canada
(DUC), Delta Waterfowl and the Manitoba Wildlife Federation (MWF). The Partnership guides the development of programs
intended to reverse the declining population of hunters in Manitoba and promote participation and interest in hunting and
related events. The Partnership was formed in 2000, beginning with a single mentored waterfowl hunt and has since grown
to an average of 16 mentored hunts (waterfowl, upland, deer, and turkey) and five hunting skills clinics/seminars conducted
annually throughout Manitoba. While originally directed at youth, mentored hunting opportunities now include events
designed specifically for adults and women. Mentored hunt events aim to introduce individuals to the ethical and sustainable
use of renewable resources in a safe and enjoyable atmosphere.
The Manitoba Mentored Hunt core program goals of hunter recruitment and retention were evaluated using a mail survey sent
to 644 mentored hunt participants that participated in a hunt between 2004 and 2010. Results from the survey provided
valuable information on recruitment, barriers to hunting, and areas to apply program improvements. The survey showed a
high proportion of mentored hunt participants (76%) have continued to hunt since attending a mentored waterfowl hunt, and
most of these participants (75%) had not hunted waterfowl prior to attending the mentored hunt. However many participants
(70%) came from a hunting background where they had some experience hunting big game or varmints. This is not surprising
as most of the communications efforts for the mentored hunt program have occurred at hunting related venues including outdoor
shows, hunting retail venues, and within hunting related print material (e.g., outdoor magazines and Manitoba Hunting Guide).
Further, while 99.5% of survey respondents agree the Mentored Hunt Program is an excellent way to introduce people to hunting,
the Partnership believes the greatest gains in recruitment would occur if existing hunters took on mentorship responsibilities as
individuals (outside of mentored hunts) and communication efforts expanded to include a broader audience (non-hunters).
Communicating the benefits of hunting (e.g., exercise, connection with nature, habitat enhancement, population management,
healthy food, etc.) alongside information on mentorship resources and assistance available through Partnership organizations (e.g.,
Hunter Education training, shooting events, ‘how-to-hunt’ manuals and videos) may contribute to a greater understanding of hunting
by the general public and may stimulate the interest of individuals who might otherwise be unaware such programs exist.
All Manitoba Mentored Hunt events are delivered almost exclusively by volunteers, and are structured around the following 2 day
event protocol and messaging.
Mentored Hunt Day 1:
-Incorporates firearm safety and practice shooting
-Learning the responsibility and ethics of hunting
-Familiarization with Manitoba’s hunting regulations
-Landowner relations and respect
-Calling and decoy demonstrations
Mentored Hunt Day 2:
-Participants hunt with an experienced hunter (1:1 or 2:1 ratio)
-Learn how to properly clean and transport migratory game birds/deer
-Participate in the preparing a waterfowl feast (cooking tips and techniques)
WHC’s contribution towards a Manitoba Mentored Hunt promotional campaign will give this program an opportunity to:
- Promote all the benefits of hunting to the non-hunting communities in Manitoba ( i.e. positive messaging on Manitoba
hunting traditions, reconnecting to the outdoors, healthy family live-styles and activities, food and the role hunters play in
wildlife and habitat management.)
- Promote the available opportunities through the mentored hunt programs and provide information and accessible resources
on how to get started hunting in Manitoba.
- Improve hunter recruitment and retention beyond organized mentored hunts by communicating and encouraging existing
hunters to expose someone new to hunting.
- Help hunters and non-hunters develop a stronger understanding and appreciation of hunting, and cultivate new relationships
between non-hunters and the wildlife conservation organizations involved including WHC, DUC, MWF, Manitoba Conservation
and Water Stewardship and Delta Waterfowl).
- Open doors for youth and young adults to explore future careers in conservation and wildlife management by providing and
communicating opportunities to meet and network with volunteers and professionals involved with the Manitoba Mentored
- Aid in the success of the Manitoba Mentored Hunt Program which will help resolve the declining population of hunters in
Manitoba and thus, reduce the large impacts the loss of hunters has had on available wildlife and habitat funding.