Natural Resources, School of



Victoria R. Vayer, NC State UniversityFollow
Lincoln R. Larson, NC State University
M. Nils Peterson, NC State University
Kangjae Jerry Lee, NC State University
Richard Von Furstenberg, NC State University
Daniel Y. Choi, NC State University
Kathryn Stevenson, NC State University
Adam A. Ahlers, Kansas State University
Christine Anhalt-Depies, Wisconsin Department Natural Resources
Taniya Bethke, South Dakota Game, Fish & Parks
Jeremy Bruskotter, The Ohio State University
Christopher J. Chizinski, University of Nebraska-LincolnFollow
Brian Clark, Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources
Ashley A. Dayer, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University
Benjamin Ghasemi, Texas A&M University
Larry Gigliotti, South Dakota State University
Alan Graefe, Pennsylvania State University
Kris Irwin, University of Georgia
Samuel J. Keith, University of Georgia
Matt Kelly, Michigan Technological University
Gerard Kyle, Texas A&M University
Elizabeth Metcalf, University of Montana
Wayde Morse, Auburn University
Mark D. Needham, Oregon State University
Neelam Poudyal, The University of Tennessee, Knoxville
Michael Quartuch, Colorado Parks and Wildlife
Shari Rodriguez, Clemson University
Chelsie Romulo, University Northern Colorado
Ryan L. Sharp, Kansas State University
William Siemer, Cornell University
Matt Springer, University of Kentucky
Richard Stedman, Cornell University
Taylor Stein, Florida Department of Forest Resources and Conservation
Tim Van Deelen, University of Wisconsin-Madison
Jason Whiting, California State University, Fresno
Richelle L. Winkler, Michigan Technological University
Kyle Maurice Woosnam, University of Georgia

Document Type


Date of this Version



Published in The Journal of Wildlife Management 85:5 (2021), pp. 1017–1030.

DOI: 10.1002/jwmg.22055


Copyright © 2021 The Wildlife Society. Published by John Wiley. Used by permission.


Declining participation in hunting, especially among young adult hunters, affects the ability of state and federal agencies to achieve goals for wildlife management and decreases revenue for conservation. For wildlife agencies hoping to engage diverse audiences in hunter recruitment, retention, and reactivation (R3) efforts, university settings provide unique advantages: they contain millions of young adults who are developmentally primed to explore new activities, and they cultivate a social atmosphere where new identities can flourish. From 2018 to 2020, we surveyed 17,203 undergraduate students at public universities across 22 states in the United States to explore R3 potential on college campuses and assess key demographic, social, and cognitive correlates of past and intended future hunting behavior. After weighting to account for demographic differences between our sample and the larger student population, 29% of students across all states had hunted in the past. Students with previous hunting experience were likely to be white, male, from rural areas or hunting families, and pursuing degrees related to natural resources. When we grouped students into 1 of 4 categories with respect to hunting (i.e., non-hunters [50%], potential hunters [22%], active hunters [26%], and lapsed hunters [3%]), comparisons revealed differences based on demographic attributes, beliefs, attitudes, and behaviors. Compared to active hunters, potential hunters were more likely to be females or racial and ethnic minorities, and less likely to experience social support for hunting. Potential hunters valued game meat and altruistic reasons for hunting, but they faced unique constraints due to lack of hunting knowledge and skills. Findings provide insights for marketing and programming designed to achieve R3 objectives with a focus on university students. © 2021 The Wildlife Society.