Voice of Leadership: Finding New Deer Hunters in Underrepresented Communities

Voice of Leadership: Finding New Deer Hunters in Underrepresented Communities

Editor’s Note: The focus of the Voice of Leadership (VOL) panel is to help educate, inform and inspire leadership within the hunting community. As we head into another hunting season, what better time is there to feature a guest piece from the National Deer Association promoting its Field to Fork program. Launched in 2016, this food-focused hunter recruitment program is making a real difference in underrepresented communities across America. Thank you, NDA, for helping to lead from the front.

According to a national survey conducted by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service every five years, there are 11.5 million licensed hunters in America. Of that number, 90 percent of hunters are male, and 97 percent are Caucasian. These facts prompted a growing movement within the outdoor industry to provide equitable access to underrepresented communities and diversify hunting so it more closely represents today’s American demographics. Motivated by these disproportions, in November 2021, the Nature Conservancy (TNC), New York Backcountry Hunters and Anglers, Hunters of Color, New York Department of Environmental Conservation and the National Deer Association came together to host a “Field to Fork” mentored hunting event for aspiring hunters from the Black, Indigenous and People of Color (BIPOC) communities.

The event was hosted on TNC’s Hannacroix Preserve, roughly 30 minutes outside Albany. Participants ranged in age from 34 to 62 and were given the opportunity to go through New York’s hunter education course, learn about deer biology and behavior through NDA’s Deer Hunting 101 online course, gain experience shooting, go on hunts with an experienced mentor, and enjoy the fellowship and camaraderie found in New York deer camps each fall in a safe and welcoming environment.

In promoting growth and participation in hunting for all, the NDA produced a documentary of the hunt titled “Finding New Deer Hunters in Underrepresentated Communities,” which can be found on the NDA’s YouTube channel by clicking here. Financial support was provided by the National Shooting Sports Foundation’s Hunting Heritage Trust Grant Program.

The National Deer Association (NDA) is a non-profit deer conservation group that works to ensure the future of wild deer, wildlife habitat and hunting. Thank you for subscribing to our YouTube channel. To support NDA’s mission by becoming a member, click here. To learn more about deer and deer hunting in our weekly, free e-newsletter, click here. The NDA has the highest ranking from Charity Navigator, an independent group that monitors non-profits for financial efficiency and effectiveness.

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2021-2022 The Hunting Wire Voice of Leadership Panel
The Voice of Leadership Panel is an appointed group of outdoor industry leaders who have volunteered to contribute their voices on key hunting and outdoor recreation issues to inform, inspire, and educate participants within our community.

  • Cyrus Baird—Senior Director of Government Affairs, Delta Waterfowl
  • Karen Butler—Founder/President, SLG2, INC DBA: Shoot Like A Girl
  • Eric Morris—Producer & Host, N.onT.ypical Outdoorsman TV
  • Ken Perrotte—President of the Association of Great Lakes Outdoors Writers (AGLOW)
  • Brenda Weatherby—Director of People and Culture, Weatherby Inc.
  • Courtney Nicolson—Associate Director of Communications, Sportsmen's Alliance