Times Spent Outdoors: Priceless!

Arizona Continues To Improve Hunting/Fishing Education Programs

Stakeholders review new data and methods at bi-annual conference.

FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. – Wildlife conservation partners of the Hunting and Angling Heritage Workgroup (HAHWG, pronounced "hog"), which is coordinated by the Arizona Game and Fish Department, met in mid-July at HAHWG's bi-annual conference to discuss solutions, methods and approaches to reversing the declines in participation in hunting and fishing, as well as the primary funding sources for wildlife conservation in Arizona and most of America.

The gathering at the Flagstaff Nordic Center drew leaders from all interests of wildlife conservation. The two-day meeting debuted three years of survey data and preliminary findings from an in-depth focus group study from past participants of HAHWG events. These data will be used locally, and possibly nationally, to challenge the current program structure and provide new guidelines to increase the retention of participants while continuing reach to new audiences.

The meeting also included an overview of the Department's recent Conserve and Protect marketing campaign, feedback from past mentored events, review of best practices and standards, a strategic look at the upcoming 2015-16 season, as well as new opportunities to work with angling communities.

"We are fortunate to have such great participation in the HAHWG, from parks and recreation, to youth development organizations, retailers to hunting, angling and species conservation groups," said Doug Burt, AZGFD hunting and shooting sports program manager. "The success of the Hunting and Angling Heritage Workgroup is the shared common interests of many under one tent for the benefit of species, habitat, and the heritage of traditional wildlife recreation. With that, we can accomplish anything."

The facility and food for the meeting were sponsored by Flagstaff Nordic Center, Hunting Works for Arizona, National Wild Turkey Federation, and the Yuma Valley Rod and Gun Club.

The HAHWG's primary method for improving participation rates is through hands-on, introductory, mentored events through a partnership-based model, matching beginners with mentors who will teach them the outdoor skills needed to hunt, fish, or trap on their own through a series of events and activities.

For a list of events conducted by the HAHWG's Outdoor Skills Network, visit http://www.azgfd.gov/OutdoorSkills.


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