To better understand what attracts newcomers and keeps them participating in the shooting sports, and also to identify challenges to building the ranks of hunters and target shooters, NSSF commissioned a study called “Understanding Activities That Compete With Hunting and Target Shooting” that was conducted by Southwick Associates and Responsive Management, two respected research firms focusing on outdoor participation.
A key finding of the study may sound obvious but was so important to participants that it bears emphasizing: that both newcomer and experienced shooters participate to “have fun.” Newcomers, especially, said that they valued the fun and social aspects of target shooting and hunting. Since this is a great time of year to introduce newcomers to the shooting sports, NSSF reminds sportsmen and women to take the study’s findings to heart and keep it “fun and social” when introducing a newcomer.
As the report notes, ”Maintaining America’s hunting and recreational shooting traditions is important for many reasons, chief among them being that the hunting and sport shooting industries provide thousands of jobs annually. Also, hunters and target shooters are essential to species management and habitat conservation through the funds they donate to conservation, as well as the excise taxes they pay on hunting and shooting equipment. For this reason, it is essential that the American traditions of hunting and target shooting be continued.”