Survey: Deer Hunters Struggle to Find Time to Volunteer Broadly

March 6, 2018 | by National Deer Alliance

While it was encouraging to see that 40% of those who participated in last week’s National Deer Alliance (NDA) survey indicated that they belong to a national deer organization with a paid membership, just over 20% volunteer their time to groups or clubs working to improve deer habitat. Those who belong to national deer organizations indicated that it was the easiest way to give back to the sport that they love. “It’s hard for me to do a whole lot given my busy schedule, so I contribute a paid membership to groups I believe are doing good work,” wrote one person. Another surveyed wasn’t as fond of the idea of paid membership organizations. That person indicated, “I don’t know where you’re going with this, but if you become paid I will no longer belong to you.” While NDA has no plans to become a paid membership organization, it’s disappointing to see that type of sentiment.

When it comes to local deer hunting or conservation organizations, just 22% said that they belong to one. This is a vast departure from the earlier days of a high percentage of hunters belonging to their local sportsmen’s clubs, which sadly seem to be a dying tradition. One respondent shared, “I was a member of our local club, but it closed up shop a few years ago.”

Finally, the survey asked, “Beyond your own personal property management or hunting activities, do you volunteer any of your time to a national or local deer hunting/conservation organization or club?” A startling 77% indicated that they do not, with lack of time being the biggest reason why. As one hunter put it, “Two very young kids makes free time almost non-existent. I'd like to get more involved in conservation activities when the kids are functional to ingrain that habit in them to help them appreciate what we have. Others mentioned that they are planning to spend more time volunteering. “One of my goals for this upcoming year is to find and volunteer my time to a local conservation group,” said one respondent. Several people stated that they are simply unaware of opportunities in their area. As one person put it, “I would love to volunteer, but I don’t know of any groups around me that I could help.”

You can join any of the three national deer organizations that make up the National Deer Alliance at the links below:

Mule Deer Foundation

Quality Deer Management Association

Whitetails Unlimited