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H OW B I R D H U N T I N G IS TURNING THE TIDE O N H U N T E R R EC R U I T M E N T

M E N TO R I N G : T H E I R R E P L AC E A B L E CO M P O N E N T

NORMALIZING WO M E N ’ S PA R T I C I PAT I O N I N H U N T I N G C U LT U R E

C R AC K I N G T H E R EC R U I T M E N T CO D E W I T H L IFESTYLE BRANDING

2018 L IFESTYLE MARKETING AND UPLAND HUNTING N AT I O N A L S U R V E Y

T H E WO R D “ S P O R T ” IN HUNTING

HUNT RISING THE FUTURE OF HUMANITY’S OLDEST TRADITION


NORTHWOODS COLLECTIVE IS A MULTIMEDIA CREATIVE AGENCY DEDICATED TO THE REBRANDING AND REDISCOVERING OF THE OUTDOORS. Harnessing the power of narrative storytelling, visually stunning content and lifestyle branding, Northwoods Collective has become a bridge between mainstream America and timeless outdoor pursuits. By leveraging our multiple award–winning digital series, creating dynamic social media campaigns and building all-inclusive multimedia platforms, we are partnering with state agencies, NGOs and enterprise stakeholders across the nation to secure the future of conservation, hunting, fishing and shooting sports in the United States.

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T O F I N D N AT U R E N O M AT T E R W H E R E I T I S . T O L I V E T H E T R A D I T I O N S O F M A N K I N D. T O I N S P I R E G E N E R AT I O N S T O C O M E . TO R E D I S COV E R T H E O U T D O O R S .


AN OPEN LET TER

For decades, many of us have taken for granted the outdoor pursuits that we cherish while ignoring our responsibility to safeguard their future. The alienation (intentional or not) of novices and nontraditional demo-

ments and editorial choices fail to reflect that value. Third, hunting has a bureaucracy problem. Many of the changes needed to realize effective R3 must be accomplished at the state and federal levels, but bureaucratic

graphics has given birth to one of the most integral battles in the fight for conservation since Teddy Roosevelt set the

red tape can make it nearly impossible to implement these changes. Political pressures create barriers for constituents while agency policy leaves employees mired

stage over a century ago. Ever-evolving technology has only added fuel to this fire, allowing it to spread beyond border of containment. Like it has throughout history, technology continues to hasten the decline of ideas and cultures. As a society, we’ve largely left behind ink and quill for keyboard and LaserJet, steamliners for jumbo jets, and recurve bows for supermarket shelves. And so there are many asking, “Does hunting have a place in modern society?” It is certainly a fair question, and we believe it has a good answer, but we have to acknowledge three very real challenges at the outset. First, hunting has a public relations problem. As in a lot of public discourse these days, we have created two extremes, and much of the media produced by both us and them has drawn over the lines between pro-hunter and anti-hunter with darker ink. One side has been laboring to portray hunting as a sadistic blood sport, while the other gives them all the fuel they need through antagonizing rhetoric and ubiquitous social media hero shots. And when hunters do try to appeal to the anti-hunter crowd, they typically offer the same apologetic that they’ve been preaching for decades: “Without hunters, there would be no conservation.” While that is true, it is simply not heard by anyone that doesn’t already agree. Second, hunting has an editorial problem. The complicity between advertisers and publishers only exacerbates the problem. In the frenzy to move product, we’ve jettisoned the forest for the tree, ignoring our responsibility to cultivate and rehabilitate hunting culture. Publishers have been so desperate for subscribers and clicks that they’ve pushed to find more outrageous stories and pictures of bigger and bigger trophies. It is not that advertisers and publishers don’t care about fair chase and tradition—they most certainly do—but their advertise-

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3-5 years behind the rest of the industry when it comes to offering anything beyond a few mandatory classes. These problems are the reality of where we are and, thanks to the modern R3 movement and with the help of everyone reading this, we can continue to usher these bad habits out the door. We can all look forward to remembering these challenges as a part of history not worth repeating. To effectively move forward, we must adopt a new model with new strategies and techniques for solving our PR, editorial and bureaucratic problems. And that is exactly what the Council to Advance Hunting and the Shooting Sports (CAHSS) and its partners are endeavoring to do. Every one of us, right now, is helping to craft a new way. We are writing a narrative that breaks the current culture and rebuilds it in a fashion that is acceptable to mainstream society. We are taking a good hard look at whether short-term profits and audience growth are worth jeopardizing the future of hunting. We are laboring to share our best practices across all state and federal agencies while streamlining the process to make R3 achievable. Within this new model, we must realize there is no company, no hunting or angling community, no product, no state or federal agency, and no NGO which can make effective progress alone. Each needs the partnership of the others. It requires all of us. That’s why R3 is a movement. It is a collective partnership between all stakeholders. And to be effective, it must be just that—a collective partnership. Much of the modern world has cut through the red tape and moved on, and it’s time for us to follow suit.


“ TO M O R R OW I S TO DAY. W E A R E CO N F R O N T E D W I T H T H E F I E R C E U R G E N C Y O F N OW. I N T H I S U N FO L D I N G CO N U N D R U M O F L I F E A N D H I S TO R Y , T H E R E I S S U C H A T H I N G A S B E I N G TO O L AT E . T H I S I S N O T I M E FO R A PAT H Y O R CO M P L AC E N C Y. T H I S I S A T I M E FO R V IG O R O U S A N D P OS I T I V E AC T I O N . ” — MARTIN LUTHER KING JR.


“ W E A R E N ’ T TA L K I N G ABOUT SELLING H U N T I N G TO H U N T E R S H E R E . W E A R E TA L K I N G A B O U T R E AC H I N G N E W H U N T E R S . TO E V E N GAIN THE INTEREST OF T H E S E FO L KS , W E AREN’T JUST CO M P E T I N G AG A I N S T OT H E R O U T D O O R PURSUITS. WE ARE CO M P E T I N G FO R AT T E N T I O N A S CO M M A N D I N G A S A S TA R WA R S F I L M RELEASE.”


H OW B I R D H U N T I N G IS TURNING THE TIDE O N H U N T E R R EC R U I T M E N T B I R D H U N T I N G I S AT T H E FO R E F R O N T O F H U N T E R R EC R U I T M E N T. Doom and gloom seems to make all the headlines lately when it comes to hunter numbers in the United States. The 2016 survey by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service put the hunting population at 4.4 percent, or 11.5 million hunters. In 1991, 7.3 percent of the U.S. population hunted, or 14.1 million people. That means we have lost 2.6 million hunters in the past 25 years. But that number becomes even more dismal when compared to the U.S. population: it represents about a 40 percent loss in hunters from the overall population. S O W H Y D O E S I T M AT T E R ? It matters because the Pittman-Robertson Fund—monies raised through the 1937 Federal Aid in Wildlife Restoration Act excise tax on firearm, ammunition and archery equipment sales—makes up over 60 percent of the U.S. federal budget for local, state and federal conservation efforts. As the number of hunters goes down, less revenue is generated from this tax, and fewer funds are available to help conservation efforts. Add in the fact that states depend on hunting license fees and permits to even be eligible for the Pittman-Robertson, and things get even messier.

WHY IS THIS HAPPENING? There are certainly a lot of factors at play, but hunting’s PR problems are at the core. As hunters, we point fingers in many directions, but the harsh reality is that we only have ourselves to blame. As a culture, we have isolated ourselves from the masses. Sure, not all of us, but the image portrayed by the majority of the hunting community to nonhunters is nothing to brag about. Our pursuit has become stagnant, and we have not evolved with the times. We have dominated our media with a one-sided, take-it-or-leave-it perspective that lacks the appeal of diverse opinions, traditions and backgrounds. We aren’t talking about selling hunting to hunters here. We are talking about reaching new hunters. To even gain the interest of these folks, we aren’t just competing against other outdoor pursuits. We are competing for attention as commanding as a Star Wars film release. In the 2018 National Upland Hunting Survey, we dissected aspects of the perception of hunting among active and aspiring hunters, specifically looking into the use of the word sport as it pertains to hunting. Oxford Dictionaries defines sport as “an activity involving physical exertion and skill in which an individual or team competes against another or others for entertainment.” When we asked the survey respondents their opinion of hunting as “an activity in which an individual competes

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against another or others for entertainment” over 90 percent of our audience rejected it as a definition of upland hunting with overwhelmingly strong opposition. (Read “The Word Sport in Hunting” on page XXX.) The results clearly showed that even our own terminology was working against us. When asked essentially the same question on their opinion/perception of the word sport in comparison with the definition, even hunters themselves have an overwhelming distaste for what the word implies in regard to hunting. If hunters don’t agree with it, how does someone who has no idea about the history of hunting perceive this notion?

W H AT ’ S T H E G O O D N E WS ? The good news is that not all media outlets are afraid of change or set on catering to broken methods of communication. The 2018 National Upland Hunting Survey revealed that 30 percent of the following of Northwoods Collective’s Project Upland platform was made up of first-generation hunters—that is, hunters who did not grow up in a hunting family. A 20 percent female following and more progressive age demographics are further indicators that there is a hopeful future for hunting. We are also breaking the urban and suburban development myth with a 55 percent following hailing from nonrural communities, proving that urban populations will in fact accept a future with hunters. By making a strong effort to empower new hunters and inspire them through positive and cutting-edge media, everyone within the Project Upland community is helping to turn the tide on hunter recruitment. And by normalizing women’s participation in hunting, accepting new

participants in outdoor pursuits, and making all people feel accepted, the upland community is leading the race to save hunting. Of course Project Upland alone can’t completely correct the decline of the hunting population, but its approach can serve as a model for other organizations that want to see hunting thrive.

W H AT C A N W E A L L D O TO H E L P ? Many have said it before: if we all took it upon ourselves to mentor just one new hunter each, helping them learn the pursuit from start to finish, we could solve this issue inside this decade. We ask our community to continue putting the future of hunting as a top priority to make sure that we in fact save the pursuit we all love so much. It is important to know that that as we grow our numbers, we will grow our voice and, more importantly, our acceptance. That acceptance will lead to more awareness, more habitat, more access, more hunters, and, ultimately, the continuation of the North American Model of Wildlife Conservation—a set of seven guiding principles for responsible stewardship of wildlife in the United States and Canada. We as a community have made the commitment to inspire as many new hunters as we can, and it’s working. We will continue to provide anyone with interest as many tools as we are able to help advance their abilities to stay with hunting. We will continue to point them in the direction of state agencies and nonprofits. As a community, we will continue to make upland hunting a model example of hunter recruitment in the 21st century.

COMMENTS: “Outstanding article! Thanks for lots of food for thought . . . and action.” —Robb “In addition to PR, what do you think are the next biggest contributing factors to the decline? I would offer (with no empirical backup whatsoever) that access is a key problem. I love bird hunting here in Texas and own a well-trained gun dog. But not being a landowner, that desire and dog don’t always translate into easy hunting opportunities. It is always a struggle to put hunts together, and they then can be relatively costly at that. Finding a lease is also a huge (and expensive) task. If I can’t find easy opportunities, then how can a new hunter? An intimidating prospect, I propose.” —Bsatt “Best piece yet. Inspiring. And you are right about the mentoring. The demographics of your following are encouraging but it takes a mentor to get you out in the field with a gun. Can you use your site and lists to connect people” —jpassacantando

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“A 20 PERCENT F E M A L E FO L LOW I N G AND MORE P R O G R E S S I V E AG E DEMOGRAPHICS ARE FURTHER I N D I C ATO R S T H AT THERE IS A HOPEFUL FUTURE FO R H U N T I N G . ”


R EC R U I T M E N T G AT E WAYS BEING A BEGINNER HUNTER IS NOT AN EASY TASK WITHOUT BEING POINTED IN THE RIGHT DIRECTION. THERE ARE, IN FACT, A LOT OF STEPS INVOLVED IN A COMMITMENT TO THIS AGE-OLD TRADITION, BUT FOCUSING ON EITHER OF TWO THINGS—SMALLER GAME AND HUNTING DOGS—CAN OPEN UP EFFECTIVE RECRUITMENT GATEWAYS. SMALL GAME Not all hunts—or game animals, for that matter—are created equal. There are some more than others whose nature is ideal for helping folks graduate to their next hunting challenge. Wild turkey is about as big as it gets for gateway game for new hunters. Turkey hunting is a very exciting and interactive place to begin. Some would say it is the game animal of choice for any beginning hunter. Experiencing the thunder of a tom’s gobble only 20 yards away is one of best ways for people to feel the true excitement and passion of the outdoors. The widespread availability of the wild turkey from coast to coast combined with an overabundance in proximity to urban areas puts this game species on the top tier of gateway game. Being able to interact with turkeys through calling without having to be an expert caller is enjoyable with minimal commitment and effort. Although turkey hunting is not easy, the experience will usually leave a person wanting more, unlike hunting for larger game such as deer. Let’s face it, for a new hunter, deer hunting is more often than not about as fun as watching paint dry . . . but without the high. In addition to being “user friendly,” if you will, another key component that sends turkey to the top tier of gateway game is the nationwide availability of resources and support for turkey hunting. The culture built around turkey hunting benefits state agencies, veterans looking to mentor novice hunters, and new or aspiring turkey hunters. Relevant NGOs, such as the National Wild Turkey Foundation (NWTF), stand at the core of that culture and support nearly all facets of the pursuit by providing information and next steps for any experience level. Squirrel and rabbit are other excellent options for novice hunters. That’s right, squirrel. Do not denigrate this

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game species, because despite what your preconceived notion may be about eating squirrel, they are delicious. The same goes for rabbit, and that is an important message to convey. Hunting abundant small game like squirrel or rabbit provides fast action and presents little intimidation for a new hunter. In addition to their small size and great abundance, squirrel and rabbit are game which doesn’t attract elitism or the ever-present superhunter egos. When was the last time you heard of someone bagging a trophy squirrel and taking a hero shot with it like they just conquered Mother Nature? Spending a day afield trying to score a nice dinner instills a sense of satisfaction and contributes to the totality of the hunting lifestyle. The fact that most can participate in the pursuit just beyond the border of their backyards makes small game ideal for first-timers.

DOGS Dogs may be the single best gateway to recruitment of new hunters. From training to trials to show to companionship, the world of dogs is broad and multifaceted, but the relationships which form between dogs and their owners are what drive recruitment. A significant portion of the world’s dog breeds which are hunters. When someone buys a breed of hunting dog, they become low-hanging fruit for hunter recruitment whether they ever had intentions of becoming a hunter or not. It becomes all about the dog, and when your dog has hunting in its genes, watching it go on point, flush a bird or retrieve a duck becomes like watching your child score a goal or hit a home run.


Just as turkey hunting has national support from organizations like NWTF, the resource and social support network for dog owners and dog lovers extends far beyond the borders of hunting. The love of dogs reaches an entirely different portion of society—one that is more

“ I T B ECO M E S A L L

publicly accepted. Hunting dogs are viewed in a different light. A picture of a black lab retrieving a mallard drake and a picture of a hunter dragging out a deer will undoubtedly garner different responses to the nonhunting public, while at their core they are the same.

DOG HAS HUNTING

CO N C L U S I O N An individual typically goes through many different stages of recruitment before becoming a hunter. While participating in a turkey, rabbit or upland hunt may seal the deal, potential hunters usually go through many steps and time commitments, such as hunter education, before they actually spend time hunting. Focusing on smaller game is one path that may make these steps easier. And adjacent pursuits such as dogs may make committed hunters out of some who never dreamed of pursuing the activity.

ABOUT THE DOG, A N D W H E N YO U R IN ITS GENES, WATC H I N G I T G O ON POINT, FLUSH A BIRD OR RETRIEVE A D U C K B ECO M E S L I K E WATC H I N G YO U R C H I L D S CO R E A G OA L O R H I T A HOME RUN.”


M E N TO R I N G : T H E I R R E P L AC E A B L E CO M P O N E N T IF THERE IS ONE SINGLE FORM OF HUNTING WHERE A MENTOR CAN MAKE THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN SOMEONE BECOMING A HUNTER OR NOT, TURKEY HUNTING IS IT. WHILE A TURKEY’S BRAIN IS ONLY THE SIZE OF A WALNUT, THEY HAVE A WAY OF AVOIDING EVEN THE MOST SEASONED VETERANS, AND TO AN ASPIRING HUNTER, TURKEYS MIGHT JUST BE THE ONE ANIMAL THAT DETERS THEM FROM EVER HUNTING AGAIN. W H Y D O W E M E N TO R ? For most seasoned hunters, there is a nostalgic feeling derived from introducing youth to the activity. Mentors are often trying to recreate their own introduction or their own first harvest, which is great in theory, but often doesn’t suffice in communicating with recruits today. The motivations to become a hunter in the 21st century have changed dramatically, and society doesn’t willingly accept hunting like it did in the past. Children today are growing up in a world that is vastly different from even 20 years ago, never mind the era of the ’60s and ’70s when their mentors were growing up. Nonetheless, we continue to mentor as a means to end the decline in hunter numbers and secure the future of our hunting heritage.

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H OW D O W E M A K E M E N TO R I N G E F F EC T I V E IN THE 21ST CENTURY? In order for mentorships to have a truly positive effect on hunting numbers is the need to look beyond a preconceived age range. It’s a pretty common preconception that the mentor-mentee relationship must be between and adult and a youth. This notion needs to be discarded, and we must realize there are no age requirements for the mentor or the mentee. Believe it or not, kids are not the holy grail of hunter recruitment, and recent research shows very little return on investment when it comes to introducing kids. If those kids go home to family and friends who don’t hunt, they will likely give it up. We aren’t saying to stop mentoring kids—some will have both the interest and the resources to pursue hunting—but we need to look into mentoring other age groups in addition to kids in order to have a positive impact on overall numbers. Mentoring adults, ideally those in their 20s or early 30s, is the most efficient way to create a chain of hunter recruitment. Many of those young adults will soon have children whom they will likely raise to be hunters just as many of us were raised. Regardless of age, for some aspiring hunters, the goal may not even be to harvest an animal at first, but rather


“ M E N TO R I N G A D U LT S , I D E A L LY T H OS E I N T H E I R 2 0 S O R E A R LY 3 0 S , I S T H E M OS T E F F I C I E N T WAY TO C R E AT E A C H A I N OF HUNTER R EC R U I T M E N T. ”

just to learn the skills and techniques needed to be successful. As mentors, we often get caught up in our own desire to see a successful harvest. So we must ask ourselves what our goal is in mentoring an aspiring hunter. If your goal is to simply take someone out and call in a turkey so they can shoot it, then go be a hunting guide—it holds merit but falls short of mentorship. When preparing to go out with a new mentee, take a few minutes to make sure that expectations are realistic. If a mentee expects to go afield, make a few yelps, and have four long beards walk right in and attack their decoy while they decide which one to take, they may be very disappointed. If that happens, great, but if it doesn’t happen, if their expectations aren’t met or exceeded, they likely won’t return. Keep it real. As mentors we, too, need to give ourselves a reality check. If you expect a first-time hunter to take a poke at a tom that’s hung up at 40 yards, you may find yourself being disappointed or pressuring the new hunter beyond their comfort level. If you expect a new hunter to pass on an immature turkey because you “don’t shoot jakes,” you

may have just cost the hunting community a lifetime hunter. Understand that our values and beliefs are very likely not the same as the people we are mentoring.

W H AT D E T E R M I N E S I F A M E N TO R S H I P I S S U CC E S S F U L ? Many have the notion that a successful mentorship ends with a successful harvest. If you’ve gained anything from this article, it should be that gauging a mentorship is not so simplistic. A successful harvest or a trophy is far from being the determining factor. The success depends mostly upon the mentor-mentee relationship and the meeting or exceeding the goals and expectations from both parties. There is no substitute for a quality mentor. Many have said it before: if we each took up the challenge of mentoring just one new hunter from start to finish, we could solve this issue of declining hunting rates inside this decade. Mentoring is the most effective way our community can continue putting the future of hunting as a top priority and ensure that we the pursuit we all love so much in fact has a future.

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“THE REAL NEED I N R 3 I S TO M A K E WO M E N J U S T A S CO M M O N A S M E N IN THE HUNTING CO M M U N I T Y. W E N E E D TO R E M OV E GENDER FROM THE HUNTING C U LT U R E A L L TO G E T H E R . ”


NORMALIZING WO M E N ’ S PA R T I C I PAT I O N I N H U N T I N G C U LT U R E Despite a commitment to equal rights, we live in a world full of sexism, pay inequality and a many other things that alienate women. Believe it or not, there are plenty of Neanderthals walking amongst us today that still believe men are superior over women in many ways. This same group of Neanderthals (as we like to refer to them) have been sitting back, waiting for their methods of recruitment and retention to work for far too long. Times have changed, and hunting isn’t going to sell itself in an ever-changing culture. We are often hesitant to say this, but when it comes to nontraditional demographics, we need to break the current culture and rebuild it in a manner that is acceptable to the mainstream. To truly realize effective R3—recruitment, retention and reactivation of hunters—we want to create a new narrative—one that normalizes women’s participation in the outdoors. Not a narrative built on the good ol’ boys taking a girl out to hunt. Not a community that finds itself answering the lack of women’s gear with women’s-only gear that’s far too expensive and doesn’t perform nearly as well. Rather, we need an equal playing field where both women and men are respected for their skill level and encouraged in a positive environment. Sure, it’s great to see all sorts of women-dominated platforms. Who wouldn’t want to see and hear the Eva Shockeys of the world after decades of listening to a

bunch of men disregard or not even consider that a woman may be a better hunter than they are? But we need more than just women-dominated platforms—we need a community where women are welcome participants at every level. Creating a new era of juggernauts of a different sex isn’t going to solve anything. The real need in R3 is to make women just as common as men in the hunting community. We need to remove gender from the hunting culture all together. At Northwoods Collective, we have found great success in effective R3 marketing and the strategy of our lifestyle brands and platforms does just that. We show women in authoritative narratives (as well as men). We also show men in novice rolls (as well as women) to help empower people to not feel ashamed of their learning level or feel as though they are in competition with others. The subtlest of changes in content creation—like using photos of women hunting to illustrate articles written by men, or vice versa—communicates that both sexes belong as full participants. We put a lot of effort into dissecting the whys and hows of what content works, and we find that when photos of men accompany articles by women, male-dominated audiences accept the content as fact more readily. It’s sad, but it’s reality. And we acknowledge that reality as part of a long-term approach to

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normalizing women’s full participation in the outdoors. We believe this goal is achievable and will result in incalculable benefits to both demographics, inspire new generations of young women, and create a measurable, lasting hunting legacy at every level. The strategy of essentially eliminating gender has earned us a 21-percent female following on the Project Upland platform. We achieved this by, as simple as it sounds, taking women as seriously as men. More bluntly, we do not care at all about our authors’ gender—we care about their ability to write accurately and. more impor-

“THE TRUTH IS, IF YO U A R E N OT P U T T I N G E F FO R T I N TO N O R M A L I Z I N G WO M E N ’ S

tantly, to inspire others to feel empowered in their journey through the outdoors.

PA R T I C I PAT I O N I N

W H Y D O E S T H I S M AT T E R ? The truth is, if you are not putting effort into normalizing women’s participation in the hunting culture, you are now alienating your own brand or agency. According to the National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF), women are the fastest-growing segment of hunters in the United States. In 2001, 10 percent of the hunters in the United States were women. By 2013, that number had risen to 19 percent! An 85-percent increase in one demographic, which works out to an audience of 3.3 million hunters.

C U LT U R E , YO U A R E

THE HUNTING N OW A L I E N AT I N G YO U R OW N B R A N D O R AG E N C Y. ”


T H E WO R D “ S P O R T ” I N H U N T I N G W H AT CO M E S TO M I N D W H E N YO U H E A R H U N T I N G R E F E R R E D TO A S A S P O R T ? This may be a sore subject for many, and it may take some time to wrap your head around it. But much is at stake, and we suggest that it’s worth considering some thoughts and recent research on the use of the word sport in reference to hunting—especially when it comes to recruitment, retention and reactivation (R3). Historically, in the context of hunting the term dates back to the 16th century in Britain where royalty would truly head afield and compete against one another in the act of hunting. Fast-forward to the end of the 19th century, and we find ourselves at the origin of sport as the majority of the hunting community uses it today. Most of us who are hunters don’t even think twice about using the word sport in regard to our pastime. To us, the word represents fair chase and giving the wildlife a “sporting” chance at survival—an accurate reflection of 19th-century practices after hundreds of years of market and pot hunting. It was Teddy Roosevelt’s era that coined the term sport hunting in a true and positive sense. Unfortunately, those days are all but gone. Advancements in society have changed almost every aspect of modern life. Like many other terms that have been around for centuries, the textbook definition of a word and its perceived meaning may not be the same. The phrase “perception is reality” truly applies here. In the midst of cultural loss and a growing need to maintain conservation funding, R3 is the next big thing. And we at Northwoods Collective truly believe that R3 is something that will be referenced in history books at the same level as the impact of Aldo Leopold and Teddy Roosevelt on conservation. While R3 is growing quickly, it is still in its infancy. Just as those of you reading this article are laying the foundation for the future of R3, we are all clamoring to find ways to make it more effective. As a media and marketing company dedicated to advancing R3, we are driving down a road not traveled by our marketing predecessors and trying to groom the trail for those that follow. Unlike most media and marketing companies, we are not selling products. We are selling lifestyles, and in an effort to better achieve that goal, we have adopted some evaluation tools and put them to good use.

“ L I K E M A N Y OT H E R T E R M S T H AT H AV E B E E N A R O U N D FO R CENTURIES, THE TEXTBOOK D E F I N I T I O N O F A WO R D A N D I T S P E R C E I V E D M E A N I N G M AY N OT B E T H E S A M E . ” In a recent survey that we conducted strictly amongst the followers of one of our numerous lifestyle brands—Project Upland—we put some extra effort into determining some of the realities and perceptions of common terminology used in the hunting community. Our token focus in this part of the survey was on the word sport and its use in regard to hunting. With high percentages of our brand following coming from nontraditional hunting demographics and even a fair number of outright nonhunters who follow the brand, the survey participants were ideal for aiding in our R3 marketing efforts. We asked over 1,500 survey participants the exact same questions regarding the word sport and its use in reference to hunting. Now before we get into the fun stuff, let’s all be sure we know the true definition of the word sport: “an activity involving physical exertion and skill in which an individual or team competes against another or others for entertainment.”

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While we are complete data geeks here at Northwoods Collective, we believe you will also find this information interesting and hopefully useful in your messaging efforts within the R3 realm. In all of the following questions we asked respondents to categorize themselves at a hobby or

• • • • •

lifestyle level of participation or as someone who wants to become an upland hunter. We’ve abbreviated those two categories below as lifestyle/hobby hunters and aspiring hunters. Once respondents categorized themselves, they were asked to read a set of statements and rate their agreement or disagreement with on the following scale:

S T R O N G LY AG R E E AG R E E NEUTRAL D I S AG R E E S T R O N G LY D I S AG R E E

1 . I T H I N K T H E WO R D S P O R T ACC U R AT E LY D E S C R I B E S H U N T I N G .

S T R O N G LY AG R E E

AG R E E

NEUTRAL

D I S AG R E E

S T R O N G LY D I S AG R E E

L IFESTYLE/ HOBBY HUNTERS

30.38%

36.81%

21.53%

9 .7 9 %

1 .4 9 %

ASPIRING HUNTERS

26.32%

30.26%

2 8 .9 5 %

1 4.4 7 %

0%

2 . I T H I N K H U N T I N G I S A N AC T I V I T Y I N W H I C H A N I N D I V I D UA L CO M P E T E S AG A I N S T A N OT H E R O R OT H E R S FO R E N T E R TA I N M E N T.

L IFESTYLE/ HOBBY HUNTERS

ASPIRING HUNTERS

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S T R O N G LY AG R E E

AG R E E

NEUTRAL

D I S AG R E E

S T R O N G LY D I S AG R E E

0 .6 3 %

3 .6 7 %

8 .6 0 %

3 2 .7 6 %

5 4.4 2 %

1.32%

1.32%

5.26%

2 8 .9 5 %

63.16%


3 . I T H I N K H U N T I N G S H O U L D B E CO M P E T I T I V E .

S T R O N G LY AG R E E

AG R E E

NEUTRAL

D I S AG R E E

S T R O N G LY D I S AG R E E

L IFESTYLE/ HOBBY HUNTERS

0.31%

1 .7 2 %

8.86%

31.03%

5 7. 0 7 %

ASPIRING HUNTERS

1.32%

1.32%

5.26%

2 8 .9 5 %

63.16%

As one can tell by the data, even hunters have a drastically different view when it comes to perception versus reality.

part of the negative stigma when we call hunting a sport. Sport implies competition. It does not imply conservation

When asked essentially the same question on their perception of the word sport in comparison with the definition, even hunters themselves have an overwhelming distaste for what the word sport actually implies in regard to hunting. If hunters don’t agree with it, how does

and sustainability. To truly succeed in recruiting new participants we must ask ourselves some of the simplest of questions. Almost all forms of hunting media use the word sport. Much of the work done thus far in R3 is directing us to aim recruit-

someone who has no idea about the history of hunting perceive the notion?

ment strategies at nontraditional demographics. This is more easily said than done, and in the process we need to

As we mention in “R3—Cracking the Recruitment Code with Lifestyle Branding,” on page XXX, we need to recognize that the motivations of the key demographics we are seeking are not the same motives this pastime has been operating on for decades. The trophies we achieve through hunting are earned as individuals, not as compet-

understand the difference in motivations and values of this audience. With that in mind, we should use the word sport with caution. Unlike angling, where the term holds merit, there is no catch-and-release when it comes to hunting.

itors—either with other hunters or with the game. That is

“ W E S H O U L D U S E T H E WO R D S P O R T W I T H C AU T I O N . U N L I K E A N G L I N G , WHERE THE TERM HOLDS MERIT, THERE I S N O C ATC H -A N D - R E L E A S E W H E N I T CO M E S TO H U N T I N G . ”


“THE OUTDOOR INDUSTRY HAS BEEN L AT E TO T H E G A M E I N CO N T E N T Q UA L I T Y , H IG H - E N D P R O D U C T I O N , ARTIST EXPRESSION AND A L L T H E OT H E R FAC TO R S T H AT A R E I N S P I R I N G P EO P L E TO B U Y V I D EO G A M E S , TA K E VAC AT I O N S , R E A D N E W B E S T S E L L E R S , G O TO T H E M OV I E S A N D E N G AG E I N E V E R Y OT H E R AC T I V I T Y T H AT V I E S FO R O U R AT T E N T I O N . ”


C R AC K I N G T H E R EC R U I T M E N T CO D E WITH L IFESTYLE BRANDING R3 IS ON EVERYONE’S MIND IN THE OUTDOOR COMMUNITY. THE THREAT OF A FADING GENERATION, COUPLED WITH A LACK OF INTEREST FROM NEW GENERATIONS, IS LOOMING OVER THIS CLASSIC CULTURE. THE HOLY GRAIL WE ARE SEARCHING FOR IS HOW TO TRULY ENGAGE A NEW GENERATION IN A DYING TRADITION. SURE, THERE IS A LOT OF DOOM AND GLOOM IN THE MAINSTREAM HUNTING INDUSTRY, BUT NESTLED IN NICHE MARKETS ACROSS THE COUNTRY WE FIND CAUSES FOR HOPE. R3—WHERE IT ALL BEGAN A few years back I had a bit of a “cultural crisis” when it came to hunting. I had grown up hunting but not in the heartland of the hunting industry. My home town was just outside of Boston, and my first mark in the hunting industry was a controversial book called “The Urban Deer Complex.” I had really taken to heart the Teddy Roosevelt quote, “Do what you can, with what you have, where you are.” The irony of the book is that it would push me away from deer hunting. I felt like I had lost my way in a trophy-drunk culture, and I was just as guilty as the next guy. I had always prided myself on being a conservationist, an advocate for organic food and sustainable living. Although I had found comfort in the world where Mother

Nature pushed back against manmade development, I began to venture farther north. I started spending a lot of time pursuing ruffed grouse in the hunting camps of my youth. I brought my camera along and some friends from the nightclub business in which I had spent the past six years of my working life. From that trip came a random film that had no intentions of going forward. It was called “Searching—A New England Hunting Tale.” The film had one goal: to show an honest and candid look at how desperate I was for an escape. Later, that film was picked up by the Ruffed Grouse Society, and from that first endeavor the award-winning series Project Upland was birthed. It was and is a series built on narrative-driven, honest content that would give inspiring and visually stunning stories to hunters and non-hunters alike.

R 3 — AC H I E VA B L E A DV E N T U R E M E A N S E M OT I O N A L LY I N S P I R I N G The code for R3 was being broken along the way, and at first that was not the intent. Having grown the company collective with likeminded individuals, we felt there was a need for achievable adventures in our content. The idea of adventure in our backyards is what the Urban Deer Complex was built on. That model proved to carry over well to the upland hunting culture. Things had to be

19


relatable, honest and humble for viewers to become participants as they began to feel the emotion of the people in the films. This portrayal is called lifestyle marketing. Even though I would love to hunt sheep in the highest of mountains, the idea is foreign and unobtainable. But the idea of escaping into a Ripley painting in the north woods of New England, well, that was real to me. When I made films about fellow New Englanders, I could feel the emotion. One of our early films, “The Experience,” would literally bring tears to my eyes. It was apparent that other people felt the same way. We brought that model to other parts of the country, telling the stories of everyday men and women who felt an emotional bond with the outdoors. It worked.

R 3 — A B O U T T H E M A N Y , N OT T H E O N E Do you want to make content that’s relatable? Then do not take one person hunting worldwide in a hundred different ways. It is not real, and it is unappealing to a generation built on DIY and self-living cultures like sustainable living. That is why the current trends in hunting shows and hunting culture are not appealing to people in target demographics of 25- to 44-year-olds. They do not want superheroes. They want honest reality, not reality TV. The trophy here is the one we achieve as individuals, not as competitors. That is part of the negative stigma when we call hunting a sport. Sport implies competition—it does not imply conservation and sustainability. We need to recognize that the motives of key demographics have not been the drivers of this industry. R 3 — Q UA L I T Y O F CO N T E N T M AT T E R S I N R EC R U I T M E N T In the 21st century, content is king. That is Marketing 101. However, quality of content rules the ranks of a flooded culture—and we do not mean the hunting culture. The reality is that recruiting new hunters from nontraditional backgrounds means competing with the highest quality of content markets across the culture. Many seem to get lost in a “hunters appealing to hunters” mindset when it comes to the recruitment segment of R3. The outdoor industry has been late to the game in content quality, high-end production, artist expression and all the other factors that are inspiring people to buy video games, take vacations, read new bestsellers, go to the movies and engage in every other activity that vies for our attention. The harsh reality is that unless content is innovative in production it will be lost to a larger and greater noise.

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As those on the forefront of R3, we need to be competing across mainstream society to have a true impact on gaining the attention of a new generation.

R 3 — CO N S I S T E N C Y M AT T E R S One-hit wonders are great, but in an ever-changing world, longevity is paramount to capturing an audience. Our audience is always thirsty. Netflix created the binge-watch phenomenon, which is so powerful that they cannot produce enough to satisfy the content-hungry culture. This is where we begin to bridge the gap of true lifestyle marketing. In some cases, this is where we begin to seed iconc branding. Our platform, Project Upland, is not just a film or an article. It is an idea that births organic viral marketing. It is a hashtag that says, “This is me.” It is a hat and a T-shirt that say, “This is the life I choose.” To connect with people on that level requires consistency. It requires a platform that has long-term goals with progressive distribution and a clear vision of social marketing. All the pieces need to make up the whole—a long-term clear vision of an established brand that will never satisfy an ongoing thirst and thus leads us to new formulas in film. R 3 — N E W FO R M U L A S T H AT B R O K E T V The way we consume TV has changed more than many of us ever imagined. The cable industry is scared, as they should be. The invention of on-demand content certainly did not go the way cable providers planned. The import-


ant part of this change was the breaking of structure. Suddenly, 22 and a half minutes is starting to become an ancient idea. Short form or, even more importantly, fluid time change based on the idea of quality rather than quantity has done wonders for film. When Game of Thrones can have episodes ranging 50 to 90 minutes, we begin to understand that the story dictates the time rather than a meaningless structure. When we produce films, we use only the time necessary to tell the story, which increases quality of production. Even more potently, it leaves people wanting more. That thirst for more is the foundation of lifestyle branding.

R 3 — P R O O F T H AT T H I S R EC R U I T M E N T M O D E L WO R KS Our lifestyle brand, Project Upland, is in its third season. With 1.5 million film views in year two alone, it has become viral in the upland community. We recently did a survey of our followers and received more than 1,500 responses to help us confirm and evaluate the effectiveness of our lifestyle branding efforts. While there were many interesting data sets gathered from the survey, here are a few stats that are directly relevant to 21st-century marketing through lifestyle branding. What are our core demographics? Ages 25 to 34 make up the greatest part of our engagement (30 percent), on top of a 21 percent following among women. More impressively, the brand has a following of 30 percent who are first-generation hunters (i.e., neither of their parents hunted) who consider hunting to be part of their lifestyle or an active hobby. A whopping 91 percent of respondents felt as though the lifestyle brand had a positive impact on each individual’s “want” to go hunting. The overwhelming majority of respondents (87 percent) felt as though Project Upland accurately represented

them as a hunter, whereas 48 percent of felt that upland hunting media on cable television did not represent them as a hunter. To add to this, 62 percent of respondents felt that the upland hunting media on cable television did not paint an accurate picture of what hunters could expect when they went afield. There are plenty of licensed activities that are not in fear of dying and have followers who are inspired to follow through. Our job as a commercial media outlet is to inspire novice and non-hunters, connecting them to relevant nonprofits and government agencies that can help them continue the process of becoming lifelong participants. We provide the inspiration that not only creates awareness and interest to take the first step through hunter safety training, but also advertises avenues to connect with those currently engaged for trial opportunities. After a trial opportunity, participants then circle back into our media outlets, which provide social support and ongoing content to supplement the need for long-term growth of both knowledge and skills throughout the “continuation with support” stage of the ORAM (Outdoor Recreation Adoption Model). This sense of purpose provided through an array of varying mediums is an integral part of keeping the system glued together. Applying this model of lifestyle branding has proven to work in a noncommercial environment, as well. For two years we applied our model assembling the Ruffed Grouse Society #HealthyForests campaign aimed at diving new memberships and taking a massive step to protect the future of young forest habitat. This hugely successful campaign was further proof that while all forms of hunting, angling and shooting sports have struggled with effective PR, there is no better time than right now to take advantage of the evolution of media.

COMMENTS “Well done and thank you for filling that “missing link” to agency programs; educational outreach; and NGO activities. I’ve always felt we are desperate for a national media campaign to show the splendor of hunting in a positive light. Further it is exciting to see your data. Thank you for putting forth evaluations to get a measure beyond “views”. Keep up the good work, keep sharing and keep teaching. We need 10 more just like you, well not just like you = you know what I mean.” —Doug Burt, Arizona Fish and Game R3 “As an avid consumer of Project Upland content, I am excited to see the launch of your Morning Thunder platform going so well as an extension of your efforts to connect people to the world of bird hunting. These venues are a great way to engage existing participants and to encourage new participants to join the ranks. As part of our R3 efforts in Pennsylvania, we are working to promote these types of hunting as excellent entry-level, easy going, and entertaining methods for folks to partake in the hunting lifestyle.” —Derek Stoner, Pennsylvania Game Commission R3 Coordinator 21


L IFESTYLE BRANDS The mission of our platforms is to create lifestyle brands that represent the different facets of hunting, appeal to all ages and demographics, and engage in proactive R3—recruitment, retention and reactivation of hunters. We provide high-quality, free multimedia entertainment in the form of film, web and print. The purpose and importance of an entire platform built around a lifestyle is how we as a media and marketing company effectively address every aspect within the Outdoor Recreation Adoption Model (ORAM) that isn’t dependent solely on state and federal agencies. We aim to exceed the boundaries of what outdoor media has done in the past and, most importantly, to provide an

hunting lifestyle—governmental, nongovernmental, corporate and individual—to unite on the frontlines of R3. The platforms supporting these lifestyle brands are built on the premises and principles of R3 as media support. As a media and marketing company it is our overarching goal to inspire the new, the old and even the unaware to engage in the activity while providing the next steps to direct them to the relevant NGO or state agency to continue the process and round out the conservation model. The intention here is to create a socially acceptable environment for overcoming the barriers and hurdles to participation and acceptance faced by all interested parties.

accessible path for all parties interested in promoting the

W W W. P R OJ EC T U P L A N D.CO M

Project Upland is a lifestyle platform created to deliver high-quality metrics to upland hunting. From award-winning films to award-winning writers, the Project Upland series has become a go-to source for upland content and inspiration. A quick tour through the Instagram hashtag #ProjectUpland will testify to the viral nature of this movement. W W W. M O R N I N G T H U N D E R H U N T.CO M

The Morning Thunder lifestyle brand is an award-winning digital series . . . and far more. Morning Thunder is geared to capture the attention of a broad audience through an all-inclusive platform that provides not only cinematic short films and an aggressive social media presence but also an easily accessible library of articles on turkey hunting culture, how-to resources and science-based content for hunters of all skill levels. W W W. E N D L E S S M IG R AT I O N .CO M

Endless Migration is a lifestyle brand designed to redefine waterfowl hunting. Comprising high quality media of all types and an all new narrative formula, the Endless Migration platform is set to bring the waterfowl and habitat conservation efforts from each national flyway to the broader mainstream.

22


2018 L IFESTYLE MARKETING AND UPLAND HUNTING N AT I O N A L S U R V E Y In February 2018, Northwoods Collective set out to confirm some theories and attach factual data to the effectiveness of our media platforms and marketing strategies. The Northwoods Collective 2018 National Survey sought to identify the current demographics within the upland hunting industry and the changes in viewership and participation trends as they relate to modern lifestyle marketing and traditional hunting media. The upland hunting community was chosen as the token focus of the survey due to the longstanding perception of elitism within this market and the exclusion felt by newcomers as a result of that perception. The survey identified key groups within the modern upland hunting culture, documented differences among age cohorts, and ascertained possible changes to modern marketing and media efforts that would effectively address the decline in hunting participation. Questions within the survey were aimed at clarifying the motivations of each age cohort and its tendencies and habits within the culture.

Survey respondents went through an initial screening to gather general demographics before being asked to self-identify their level of participation in upland hunting and allow us to determine their position within the ORAM (Outdoor Recreation Adoption Model). This categorization was designed to allow comparisons between aspiring or new upland hunters and veteran hunters. Splitting the survey at this point was critical to gaining insight to a number of R3 segments attached to the active hunting community. It also allowed us insight into newly recruited hunters—those in the initial stages of the ORAM—to better understand the recruitment paths they may have taken. While this data did not provide a skeleton key to the doors of recruitment, it did confirm that some of the strategies used in the lifestyle branding process were successful and that lifestyle marketing has had positive effects as an R3 tool. The complete official survey report will be published in summer of 2018. In the meantime, here are some relevant R3 highlights:

23


W H AT B E S T D E S C R I B E S W H E R E YO U L I V E ? 60.00% 45.00%

hunted. Not unexpectedly, 63.53 percent of respondents identified that just their father hunted, 0.47 percent just their mother and 6.60 percent both parents. Neither

Father

Mother

Both

3 0 .4 0 %

3 0 .4 0 %

3 0 .4 0 %

3 0 .4 0 %

30.00% 15.00% 0.00% RURAL

URBAN/SUBURBAN

4 4.9 3 %

55.07%

Northwoods Collective’s combined following from urban and suburban residences (55 percent) was much higher than national demographic averages. This data suggests that key demographics (urban and suburban) at stake within R3 are effectively being reached.

Q U E S T I O N 1 : W H AT I S YO U R AG E ? 25%

Q U E S T I O N 3 : H AV E YO U CO M P L E T E D A N O F F I C I A L H U N T E R E D U C AT I O N / S A F E T Y C L A S S F R O M A S TAT E AG E N C Y ? While 80.68 percent of aspiring hunters have taken a hunter education course at some point, it is important to note that 19.32 percent of our respondents have not done so. Respondents who have taken a hunter education class were asked how long ago they took the class to gain additional insight into the respondents placement on the ORAM (See results below). H OW M A N Y Y E A R S AG O D I D YO U TA K E A H U N T E R E D U C AT I O N C L A S S ?

20% 15% 10% 5% 0% 25-34

35-44

45-54

55-64

65-74

75+

Based on the national average age of hunters, the lifestyle brand following shows a nearly even distribution from ages 25–65. The age cohort with the highest average (25%) is from the target demographic of ages 25–34. Recent R3 data shows significant long-term success using the 25–34 age cohort as a path to recruitment. This is the age class most likely to be in the initial phases of starting a family, which will likely mean eventually recruiting their children and providing the social support necessary for continuing participation by the next generation.

Q U E S T I O N 2 : D I D E I T H E R O F YO U R PA R E N T S H U N T ? One of the more notable data sets identified that 30 percent of all followers of the lifestyle brand were first generation hunters, meaning neither of their parents

24

>1 yr

1-5 yrs

6-10 yrs

11-15 yrs 16-20 yrs

21+ yrs

11.26%

25.35%

1 2 .6 7 %

1 6 .9 0 %

29.50%

5 .6 0 %


Q U E S T I O N 4 : W H AT S T E P S D O YO U F E E L A R E M OS T I M P O R TA N T B E FO R E YO U G O A F I E L D O N A N U P L A N D H U N T ? RANK IN ORDER

Having a mentor/experienced hunter to go with

43.18%

Practicing on a trap or skeet range

2 2 .7 3 %

O F M OS T I M P O R TA N C E F R O M M O S T I M P O R TA N T ( 1 ) TO L E A S T

Owning a hunting dog

18.18%

Finding friends to hunt with

7.9 5 %

Learning how to process a game bird

7.9 5 %

I M P O R TA N T ( 5 ) .

The options on this question were based on known barriers to recruitment. Respondents were asked to rate the level of importance of the five categories. Being accompanied by a mentor or experienced hunter was clearly the most important factor in a novice’s confidence level when heading afield. Mentors are integral to any R3 model and play a vital role in the social support structure of the lifestyle. We also see that having friends to hunt with is the fourth most important factor to an aspiring hunter. These two forms of social support are completely different in nature and should be treated as such when developing an R3 plan and R3-related content.

Perhaps one of the most important aspects of the entire 2018 Upland Hunting Survey was a series of opinion questions aimed at identifying the effect the lifestyle brand Project Upland has on participants of all demographics versus the effect that current media (e.g., cable TV) and common terminology (sport) have. Respondents were asked to agree or disagree at varying levels for each of the following statements:

S TAT E M E N T 1 : I T H I N K P R OJ EC T U P L A N D P O R T R AYS U P L A N D B I R D H U N T I N G C U LT U R E I N P OS I T I V E M A N N E R .

L IFESTYLE/HOBBY HUNTERS ASPIRING HUNTERS

S T R O N G LY AG R E E

AG R E E

NEUTRAL

D I S AG R E E

S T R O N G LY D I S AG R E E

74 %

24%

2%

1%

0%

88%

11%

1%

0%

1%

The responses reflect that the overwhelming majority of followers strongly agree or agree that Project Upland portrays the pursuit in a positive light. This is expected, as true lifestyle marketing should resonate with its following throughout all age cohorts and allow followers to identify themselves as part of the brand.

S TAT E M E N T 2 : I T H I N K P R OJ EC T U P L A N D ACC U R AT E LY REPRESENTS ME AS A HUNTER.

L IFESTYLE/HOBBY HUNTERS ASPIRING HUNTERS

S T R O N G LY AG R E E

AG R E E

NEUTRAL

D I S AG R E E

S T R O N G LY D I S AG R E E

39%

48%

13%

1%

0%

47%

35%

18%

0%

0%

In this data it is exposed that a strong majority of followers feel as though they are well represented by the brand. This confirms the efficacy of lifestyle marketing and branding. The type of following created by Project Upland lifestyle brand—which does not consist of a tangible product but rather a lifestyle—exposes the reality of the social importance of shared values. 25


S TAT E M E N T 3 : I T H I N K P R OJ EC T U P L A N D H A S A P O S I T I V E I M PAC T O N M E WA N T I N G TO G O U P L A N D B I R D H U N T I N G . S T R O N G LY AG R E E L IFESTYLE/HOBBY HUNTERS ASPIRING HUNTERS

AG R E E

NEUTRAL

D I S AG R E E

S T R O N G LY D I S AG R E E

57%

35%

8%

1%

1%

68%

22%

9%

0%

1%

Most respondents agreed that Project Upland had an impact on them wanting to hunt. More importantly, nearly 70 percent of aspiring hunters strongly agreed, revealing the inspiration and motivation provided by a lifestyle brand.

S TAT E M E N T 4 : I T H I N K C A B L E H U N T I N G S H OWS ACC U R AT E LY R E P R E S E N T M E A S A H U N T E R .

L IFESTYLE/HOBBY HUNTERS ASPIRING HUNTERS

S T R O N G LY AG R E E

AG R E E

NEUTRAL

D I S AG R E E

S T R O N G LY D I S AG R E E

2%

10%

41%

36%

11%

1%

8%

40%

40%

11%

The data reveals that the majority of respondents—whether current or aspiring participants—felt as though they were not represented accurately by current hunting media offered on cable television. Regardless of viewership rates, without personal representation and assimilation of personal values, these TV programs offer very little inspiration or value from a recruitment or retention perspective.

S TAT E M E N T 5 : I T H I N K C A B L E H U N T I N G S H OWS PA I N T A N ACC U R AT E P I C T U R E O F W H AT I C A N E X P EC T W H E N I G O A F I E L D.

L IFESTYLE/HOBBY HUNTERS ASPIRING HUNTERS

S T R O N G LY AG R E E

AG R E E

NEUTRAL

D I S AG R E E

S T R O N G LY D I S AG R E E

1%

8%

29%

36%

26%

0%

5%

33%

23%

40%

Nearly 60 percent of respondents from both categories felt as though hunting shows on cable television (i.e., traditional hunting media) did not paint an accurate picture of what they could expect when they went afield. As we have mentioned in some of our R3 literature, today’s content hungry culture wants honest reality, not reality TV. Creating a false impression of the realities of hunting is not just a major barrier to continuation but also a cause for outright desertion.

26


S TAT E M E N T 6 : I B E L I E V E U P L A N D H U N T I N G I S A S U S TA I N A B L E C U LT U R E .

L IFESTYLE/HOBBY HUNTERS ASPIRING HUNTERS

S T R O N G LY AG R E E

AG R E E

NEUTRAL

D I S AG R E E

S T R O N G LY D I S AG R E E

45%

43%

9%

3%

0%

53%

38%

7%

1%

1%

This question aimed at gauging whether followers viewed the upland hunting culture as sustainable. Embedding the message of conservation and sustainability into all the dierent aspects of a platform is essential to instilling a sense of continuity in the pursuit. Additionally, by embedding the message of conservation and sustainability we are targeting nontraditional demographics with alternative motivations. Using the fundamentals of lifestyle marketing and iconic branding, we have adapted the most current 21st-century marketing techniques to incorporate the R3 model. The strategy has realized enormous followings from demographics not previously reached through traditional outdoor media. As an R3 tool, the utility of collaboration between state and federal agencies, NGOs and cutting-edge media is on the horizon to the beneďŹ t of the entire outdoor community.


OT H E R WO R K N O R T H WO O D S CO L L EC T I V E — M A S S AC H U S E T T S D I V I S I O N O F F I S H E R I E S AND WILDLIFE In 2017, we leveraged the power of Project Upland to create a film for the Massachusetts Division of Fisheries and Wildlife to help educate people about falconry. Highlighting the relationship between falconers, their dogs and their birds of prey, the conservation practices and concerns of MassWildlife were effectively portrayed in the short film, which went on to garner tens of thousands of views and ultimately win Best Professional Hunting Video in the 2017 Monocular Video Awards, a competition sponsored by an international hunting community. N O R T H WO O D S CO L L EC T I V E — R U F F E D GROUSE SOCIETY In 2016 Northwoods Collective was engaged by the Ruffed Grouse Society to grow its membership and brand awareness. The #HealthyForests campaign was

designed not only to recruit new members but also to humanize the organization through sharing personal stories and addressing regional issues related to forestry management. This hugely successful campaign was supported by the metric-delivering capabilities of the Project Upland platform, which drove significant traffic to the organization and created a lifestyle association with an organization that had previously struggled with an elitist image. It was a delicate balance of creating new interest without alienating a base following. The #HealthyForests campaign delivered a historic 17 percent growth in membership base to RGS. The viral series has garnered over a half million video views in less than a year and has shown huge promise to a younger demographic for the organization. Breaking a brand stigma was no small task. For the first-time in Ruffed Grouse Society history, a younger and more engaged demographic was becoming a reality.


CO N TAC T I N FO R M AT I O N CHET HERVEY Managing Partner, Business Affairs Phone: 805-276-6293 Email: chet.hervey@gmail.com A J D E R OS A Managing Partner, Creative Director Phone: 978-314-5193 Email: aj.derosa@northwoodscollective.com J E S S E S T. A N D R E R3 Advisor Phone: 774-280-9933 Email: jessest.andre@gmail.com

© NORTHWOODS COLLECTIVE 2018

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www.northwoodscollective.com

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© NORTHWOODS COLLECTIVE 2018 www.northwoodscollective.com

Hunt Rising — The Future of Humanity's Oldest Tradition  

How Bird Hunting is Turning the Tide on Hunter Recruitment • Mentoring: The Irreplaceable Component • Normalizing Women's Participation in H...

Hunt Rising — The Future of Humanity's Oldest Tradition  

How Bird Hunting is Turning the Tide on Hunter Recruitment • Mentoring: The Irreplaceable Component • Normalizing Women's Participation in H...