Confidence, community & conservation: Exploring the relationship between self-efficacy and experience in female hunters

Ada P. Smith, Elizabeth Covelli Metcalf, Holly K. Nesbitt, Hannah J. Leonard, Tina M. Cummins, Alexander L. Metcalf, Alan R. Graefe

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Self-efficacy, or the belief we have in our own abilities, plays an important role in determining individuals’ participation and success in outdoor activities. In the U.S., managers have increasingly sought ways to support underrepresented groups’ participation in outdoor recreation. Hunting provides a particularly illustrative example, where female hunters and hunters of other racial and ethnic groups remain a starkly underrepresented, albeit growing constituent of the U.S. hunting population. In this study, we investigated the role of self-efficacy as it relates to female hunter participation to inform managers’ innovative efforts to recruit and retain this important constituency. Specifically, we look at how self-efficacy and its components change as female hunters gain experience. In a sample of female Oregon hunters (n = 147) drawn from the 2008 big game license database conducted in the summer of 2010, we found that hunters with fewer years of experience had lower overall self-efficacy compared to more experienced hunters. While skills-based components of self-efficacy were lower for less experienced hunters, there was less of a difference in the social support-based components of self-efficacy as hunters gained experience. These findings suggest that social support is important for the recruitment and retention of all female hunters regardless of skill level or experience. Management implications: Managers seeking to bolster or maintain hunter participation might consider tailoring recruitment and retention efforts to address the social support needs and unique motivations of female hunters as they seek to achieve the goals of inclusivity in hunting as well as conservation and wildlife management more broadly.

Original languageEnglish
Article number100568
JournalJournal of Outdoor Recreation and Tourism
StatePublished - Dec 2022


  • Gender
  • Hunting
  • Recruitment
  • Retention
  • Self-efficacy


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