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5 Ways to Promote New Hunting and Shooting Activities


In a previous blog post - Hunting and Shooting Participation - 5 Important Questions for You and Your Business, we noted the trend of lower hunter participation and the fact that the percentage of people who sport shoot but don’t hunt is now greater than those who hunt but don’t sport-shoot. We also noted that it’s important to keep paying attention to these and related trends and ask yourself how you can adjust your business accordingly to address them.


In this post and others to follow, we’ll summarize some key points from a detailed study, Paths to Participation, a joint effort by Southwick Associates and the National Shooting Sports Foundation.


Summaries and conclusions result from a survey fielded through NSSF partner organizations from June to August 2017. (It should be noted that the results don’t necessarily represent the entire population of hunters and sport shooters, but rather those individuals who are members of one or more of the NSSF’s partner organizations.) The focus of the survey was not to recruit first-time participants, but rather to better understand how to encourage current hunters and shooters try new activities.


Here are 5 key takeaways, as described in the introduction to the report. Some of these ideas are easy to implement; others may take coordination among industry partners in order to achieve meaningful results.


1. Create easy access – Create mobile apps and online tools to help them find places to hunt or local shooting ranges, make reservations, rent equipment, etc. In addition, create beginner apps or voice-activated assistants, like Google Assistant or Amazon’s Alexa that answer questions, such as what to do with their harvest, where to rent equipment, how to aim and shoot, as well as advanced level apps on perfecting their skills. Provide equipment rentals, hunting guides and group shooting / hunting events or programs that allow them to try the sport.


2. Be simplistic/convenient – Promote how it can fit in their busy schedules, such as “way to spend time with family,” and “spend more time outdoors” and offer more close-to-home experiences. The easier an activity appears, the more simple and convenient it becomes.


3. Influence through their friends and peers – Hunting and shooting are social activities. Very few will participate if they do not see their friends or others like themselves participating. Leverage non-professionals’ hunting and shooting videos, photos and stories through social media platforms (Instagram, Facebook, YouTube), blogs, magazines and share through television programs. Encourage friends to connect at the field or at the range.


4. Promote unique experiences – Collaborate with cross-industry retailers, organizations and manufacturers to create events or experiences that current customers will want to make time for.


5. Educate through augmented reality/video – To give a lasting impression on what it’s like to experience new hunting and shooting activities, simulate the experience at outdoor retailers, state fairs or other outdoor events where current customers gather, or showcase professionals hunting or shooting via online video on YouTube.


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