Recruitment, Retention and Reactivation (R3) programs are effective ways to grow and diversify our hunting, fishing and conservation community and build a coalition of public lands advocates. At Backcountry Hunters & Anglers (BHA), we launched our R3 program, Hunting For Sustainability (H4S), in 2016 as a way to recruit and empower new conservation-minded hunters.
Last fall BHA collaborated with Colorado Parks and Wildlife (CPW) and sponsored a H4S event hosted by Adam & Ana Gall. Adam is a Colorado BHA Assistant Regional Director and Adam & Ana own Table To Timber Guide Service: https://timbertotableguideservice.com/. Recently (on 6/4/20) some of the H4S event participants joined a CPW Partners in the Outdoors (Virtual) Conference panel.
Four Colorado BHA members/leaders were on the “Hunting for Sustainability: Recruiting A New Generation of Conservation Minded Hunters” panel discussion. Participants included BHA Program Manager Brien Webster, CO BHA Central West Slope Assistant Regional Director Leslie Kaminski, Central West Slope Assistant RD Adam Gall and Northern Colorado Assistant RD Gabriela Zaldumbide.
They discussed BHA’s H4S program and shared their experiences from the 2019 weekend seminar that introduced 12 participants, ranging from CPW Commissioners to college students, to our hunting heritage. Panelists highlighted how BHA successfully engages diverse groups of people, spurring a new generation of conservation-minded hunters by emphasizing the integral partnership we have with CPW and how we successfully leverage our volunteer and sponsor base.
“I watched your presentation today and it was fantastic. You all did extremely well on the panel and also made it personal as well,” Colorado BHA Central West Slope Regional Director Craig Grother said. “Thanks for putting this together and representing BHA at this year’s partners conference.” “Just a quick note to say thank you to Brien and the other folks representing BHA for the excellent panel this morning on Hunting for Sustainability as part of the CPW Partners meeting,” added Ray Aberle. “Very well done and superb panel. Keep up the great work!”
“I can’t thank Adam, Leslie, and Gabby enough. Adam puts a ton of work into this during the middle of his guiding season, and both Gabby and Leslie are constantly contributing so much to all that we do,” Brien Webster added. “We always have a ton of chapter support and I’d like to call out Jesse Dudley for his help on this as well. Thank you all for all that you have put into this. I know that a lot of people are looking at BHA as their community because of the work you do!”
Through this H4S program, BHA coordinates with wildlife agencies to offer hunting and wild game processing workshops that are inclusive, informative and hands-on. These events encourage active dialogue and relationship building between newcomers, seasoned hunters and wildlife officials. “I feel so lucky to have gotten to be a part of this and am proud to represent BHA!” H4S participant/panelist Gabby Zaldumbide said.
“Upon further exploration, I found that R3 is not simply ‘recruitment, retention, and reactivation’ … it is part of the greater call for inclusivity in a historically male dominated activity,” Gabby added. “R3 can be tricky; hunters are protective. I get it. Sharing something as dear to you as your own childhood is difficult. However, if Americans want hunting to persist for multiple generations, we must include everyone.”
“It’s not about a 300 inch bull every time you go out. It’s about putting some of the best meat in the world in the freezer to feed your family,” Adam Gall said. “If every year I can introduce five or six people to hunting, and they keep hunting on public lands for the rest of their lives, they have families, and share that with their kids, now you have more people vested in public lands who will speak up for them.”
“In 2016, we started our Hunting for Sustainability program to reduce barriers for those who want to get into hunting. This past fall, we held a H4S seminar in Colorado with life member Adam Gall,” Land Tawney, BHA President and CEO, said. “On Wednesday, participants and instructors got together via Zoom to reconnect and see what folks have been up to since. Two Colorado Parks and Wildlife commissioners who had never hunted took the course. The discussion that ensued was powerful and something to build on for sure. I know many of you engage in Recruitment, Retention and Reactivation activities, but now it’s time to double down.”
For additional information see:
-Contact BHA R3 Coordinator Trey Curtiss (Trey@backcountryhunters.org) if you would like to learn more about our H4S program.
-Watch a Zoom recording of the Partners panel discussion via this video. Password: PiTO#2020.
-Gabby Zaldumbide. “R3: Revelations, Relationships, And Reciprocity.” Backcountry Hunters & Anglers: 5/27/20.
-Brien Webster. “Timber to Table Elk Hunt.” Backcountry Hunters & Anglers: 2/14/20.
-Gabby Zaldumbide. “CO BHA Holds a Learn to Hunt Turkeys Seminar.” Backcountry Hunters & Anglers: 5/20/19.
-Rob Yagid. “BHA Podcast & Blast, Episode 29: Adam Gall, visionary fishing and hunting guide.” Backcountry Hunters & Anglers: 8/15/18.
Founded by Mike Beagle, a former U.S. Army field artillery officer, and formed around an Oregon campfire, in 2004, Backcountry Hunters & Anglers is the voice for our nation’s wild public lands, waters and wildlife. With over 40,000 members spread out across all 50 states and 13 Canadian provinces and territories—including chapters in 45 states, two Canadian provinces and one territory, and Washington, D.C.—BHA brings an authentic, informed, boots-on-the-ground voice to the conservation of public lands. Since the Colorado BHA chapter was founded by David Petersen (a former U.S. Marine Corps helicopter pilot) in 2005 (the first official BHA chapter), they’ve grown their boots-on-the-ground presence to some 3,000 dedicated hunters and anglers.
 Gabby Zaldumbide. “R3: Revelations, Relationships And Reciprocity.” Backcountry Journal: Fall 2019, p. 49.
 Brian Ohlen. “Gunnison Basin And Thompson Divide, Colorado.” Backcountry Journal: Winter 2017, p. 5.