Enhancing sport-hunting opportunities for urbanites

John H. Schulz, Joshua J. Millspaugh, Daniel T. Zekor, Brian E. Washburn

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

39 Scopus citations


Recent declines in recreational sport-hunting participation rates result from a variety of societal and cultural changes as well as extensive changes in the distribution of the United States population. Concurrently, natural-resource agencies are undergoing broad changes in focus and goals, with holistic ecosystem management competing with traditional game management for limited financial resources. We believe that recreational hunting is an important cultural element that should remain a mainstream recreational activity and should continue to have a significant place in natural-resource agencies. Given the transition of the United States population to a more urbanized society, new innovative programs need to be developed to recruit and retain recreational sport hunters from urban population centers that provide "successful" hunting experiences. We identify several components that will be essential to the success of these programs, such as providing a reasonable expectation of success or accomplishment (e.g., harvesting an animal), providing sport-hunting opportunities near urban population centers, and providing opportunities that are sensitive to the needs of diverse groups (e.g., minority, gender). We propose 2 solutions for providing recreational hunting opportunities to residents of urban areas: 1) establishing crop fields to attract mourning doves (Zenaida macroura) and 2) implementing put-and-take hunting under certain restrictions. We recognize many possible problems with these suggested programs. Natural-resource professionals have strong opinions about these issues, but we believe discussions are needed if hunting is to remain a mainstream recreational activity. These dialogues need to 1) address the role of recreational hunting in resource agency policies and programs, 2) identify innovative programs to educate, introduce, and retain urban residents in recreational hunting, and 3) identify innovative programs to provide urban hunters with experiences similar to those we have proposed. If we fail to recognize the emerging societal, cultural, and professional changes impacting sport-hunting participation rates, this activity likely will become an anachronism.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)565-573
Number of pages9
JournalWildlife Society Bulletin
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 2003


  • Hunter recruitment
  • Hunter retention
  • Hunting
  • Hunting opportunities
  • Mourning doves
  • Pen-raised birds
  • Recreation
  • Sport hunting
  • Urban centers
  • Zenaida macroura


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