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MADISON — Wisconsin groups dedicated to the development of safe and ethical hunters are invited to apply for portions of a new $200,000 reimbursement grant program to support private-public partnerships focused on supporting the state’s hunting heritage.
Keith Warnke, Department of Natural Resources hunting and shooting sports coordinator, says the grant answers the growing need to engage and train new hunters from a non-hunting background.
“We see a need to expand the effort to provide effective training and education for responsible new hunters and mentors by developing a private-public partnership reimbursement grant program – similar to our shooting range grant program,” Warnke says. “This program is grounded in the basic idea that only a committed hunter/mentor can educate, develop, and train a new hunter.”
Pilot studies have shown a growing interest in hunting from adults and families who have never hunted. In the past three years, Warnke says, the DNR has shifted the focus of Wisconsin’s hunter training, development and education programs to adults, females, and families in response to research findings in the state and nationwide.
This grant program also will be focused on developing and testing various programs and evaluating effectiveness. Applicants should submit ideas for the development, piloting, and evaluating of novice hunter training systems focusing new adult mentors and hunters.
“Novel, outside-the-box ideas are needed,” Warnke says. “But, we also need to make sure that we are measuring our results and evaluating effectiveness so we can know if something is having the desired effect.”
Successful programs will be expanded in Wisconsin and can be adapted by other states.
Who, when, how to apply; who decides recipients
• The application period opened on March 3, and the deadline to apply for this grant will be June 2.
• Local clubs, organizations, communities, governments, tribes, and colleges and universities are encouraged to apply.
• A total of $200,000 will be available each biennium; the maximum grant award amount is $10,000 per project but organizations may apply for multiple individual projects.
• Up to 30 percent of the total grant funding may be used to reimburse Learn to Hunt organizers, continuing a popular DNR program. “We believe it is also important to continue to emphasize a strong “natural path” of hunter development and training.”
• Projects will be scored by an independent group of hunters and agency specialists, ranked by score, and recommended to the Sporting Heritage Council for their review. The office of the DNR Secretary will review the Sporting Heritage Council’s recommendations and make the final decision on funding.
Priorities – what focus a successful application needs
Warnke says proposals that implement systems with documented success at producing new adult hunters from non-hunting backgrounds will receive top priority. Next priority will be proposals that test or trial new ideas and systems to train, develop and educate new adult hunters and those that effectively re-train mentors to commit to new hunters for a period of years through multiple introductions and educational experiences in hunting.
“We expect added focus on partnership to ensure our hunting heritage. States and partners will benefit from projects with measurable outcomes and adaptation feed-back loops,” Warnke says. “The project will result in an expanded hunter development/education program, increased participation in hunting, innovative hunter recruitment techniques, as well as provide a template for other partners or states to use, and an evaluation process for determining success of respective programs and adapting programs to changing audiences.”
The application will be available online only by searching the DNR website for “Grants” and clicking on the button for “find a grant.”