PIERRE — A South Dakota Game, Fish and Parks staffer is playing a role in a national effort to replace aging hunters.
The Capital Journal reports the national R3 plan aims to recruit, retain and reactivate hunters and shooters. The planning committee finalizing the R3 plan has sitting on it Jason Kool, an education program specialist with South Dakota Game, Fish and Parks.
Kool said that as the country’s population gets older, there will be fewer people physically able to go out into the woods.
“We in South Dakota are not seeing a decline so much as we are seeing a shift in demographics,” he said.
The R3 plan seeks to remedy issues with success tracking and coordination in programs that try to increase hunting participation. A change in recruiting is being started in one way by South Dakota by focusing on adults, a group that has been underserved by programs in the past.
“It’s easier,” Kool said. “They’ve got driver’s licenses.”
The state is hosting a course in Rapid City that has students from the South Dakota School of Mines and Technology and Black Hills State University. Kool said the program teaches the students how to hunt, and they’re taken hunting by instructors.
“This is just an audience that we haven’t done a whole lot with,” he said.
Kool said children might be an overserved population. He said programs for kids have their limits.
“It’s the same kids from the same groups going to the same hunts,” Kool said.
According to Kool, R3 planners are also working on making regulations in hunting easier for those new to it to understand. Also part of the plan is expanding access to land to hunt.