January 4, 2022

How Latino Hunters Are Helping to Shape R3

The effort to recruit, retain, and reactivate hunters can’t leave out this important segment of the U.S. population

In 2016, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service released a report that showed 6 percent of the U.S. population participated in hunting. Within that group, 97 percent identified as white, and 90 percent were male. The data indicated that Hispanic and Latino participation accounted for just 3 percent of all hunters, while the 2020 U.S. Census data shows that Hispanics account for 19 percent of our population.

The TRCP wanted to better understand why the Hispanic and Latino communities in the U.S. participate in hunting at a reduced capacity. To do this, the TRCP partnered with Colorado Parks and Wildlife to facilitate two roundtable meetings, where Latino participants could share what barriers, they face when trying to participate in hunting.

Fourteen members of the community—from lifelong, multi-generational hunters to beginners who want to learn more—joined TRCP and CPW staff in addition to facilitators from the Meridian Institute and were compensated for their time. This resulted in the creation of a toolkit that is being shared with other state wildlife agencies on how to better engage diverse communities in hunting.

Here’s how state agencies can serve these hunters better.

Establish Trust and Sincerity

Roundtable participants believed that establishing trust is essential when trying to connect with all communities. Efforts that don’t feel sincere can create further irreparable damage between communities and perpetuate the lack of trust. Agencies can build sincere relationships by identifying and working with trusted partners that already exist in the Latino community, being open and ready to modify programs based on community feedback and ensuring that programs are sustainable and not one-and-done.

Examine Messaging and Whose Stories Are Told

In the roundtable meetings, participants indicated that the messaging around hunting often makes it seem like a white space in the eyes of people of color, and many had encountered discrimination and profiling when they were out in the field simply trying to participate in outdoor activities. Storytelling was suggested as an avenue to change that.

Many of the participants were multi-generational hunters and had strong familial connections to hunting—but their stories were rarely told in outdoor media. If stories from the broader Latino hunting population were amplified by state wildlife agencies, it would create the narrative that Latinos are welcome and respected in the hunting community. It would also ensure that there is not an erasure of their history as hunters and conservationists.

Additionally, participants flagged certain terminology that could promote bias. Terms like “huntsmen” or “huntmasters,” for example, can be exclusive of women and people of color, reinforcing the narrative that hunting is a white, male-dominated space.

Similarly, each state agency should get to know its Latino and Hispanic communities and dial in the terminology for addressing these groups—“Hispanic” and “Latino” are very broad terms that encapsulate people of many backgrounds and heritages. When possible, roundtable participants indicated that they’d much prefer the use of terms for specific communities and regional identities, such as Chicano, Mexican American, and Tejano.

Use Data Collection and Monitoring to Improve Engagement and Outreach

Participants thought that it was important for state agencies to collect demographic data and that it be available to the public. Collection of demographic data should be done in a clear and concise manner that has its intent clearly explained. This would better identify who is participating in hunting and how broader participation could be achieved at a state and regional level. Demographic data collection would then help to further design and facilitate engagement and outreach programs for women and people of color. Programs that meet communities where they are important for the future of conservation and hunting. To have the best chance of success, state agencies should partner and co-host hunting education programs with organizations that are already serving Latinos and other communities, such as Hispanic Access Foundation and Latino Outdoors.

Improve Transparency

Feedback from roundtable participants indicated that it is easy for people to get discouraged and disenfranchised when they are enthusiastic about participating and learning to hunt but repeatedly fail to draw tags. Agencies must provide clear and concise information about the unbiased draw process and publicize other opportunities to participate in hunting when you don’t draw tags, such as over-the-counter or novice licenses.

Why This Work Is Important to TRCP

Our public lands and outdoor access are valuable to people of all backgrounds and demographics. Our public lands can be healing for individuals and our nation. By taking steps to welcome prospective hunters from Latino and Hispanic communities, we can change the narrative and ensure that all people have the opportunity to participate in the outdoors and share in the responsibility of conservation.


Top photo courtesy of Gregg Flores.

2 Responses to “How Latino Hunters Are Helping to Shape R3”

  1. Omar Ibanez

    I like the way this is going. Being new to hunting (and Mexican) I have encountered a few things that were slightly uncomfortable. Thankfully I don’t let it bother me too much as I’m still out and about hunting new things with every season that comes up. I appreciate you guys going out and doing something like this. I hope it influences even more people to get out there and enjoy the beautiful grounds and fellow hunters that are all around us.

    • Kristyn Brady

      Omar, thanks so much for reading the blog and sharing your story! If there’s a specific need where you live, don’t hesitate to reach out to me (kbrady@trcp.org) or Jared (jromero@trcp.org)

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December 9, 2021

Preliminary Study Shows Extent of Menhaden’s Role in Gulf Ecosystem

Results could help support a new management model that considers the needs of sportfish

Researchers from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association, the University of Miami, and the University of Florida recently completed a study which modeled the ecosystem of the Gulf of Mexico with a focus on Gulf menhaden. The model was developed to evaluate the varying effects of different harvest policies on marine species to support ecosystem-based fisheries management in the Gulf.

The study can be used to inform stakeholders and policymakers of the trade-offs between different management actions, while considering predator-prey interactions, fishing pressures, and environmental variables. The authors were primarily interested in evaluating the effects of menhaden harvest on predators like speckled trout, redfish, mackerel, and many other fish that anglers like to catch.

Hundreds of diet studies and dozens of coastal species were included in the study’s Gulf-wide food web, which modeled predator-prey interactions from 1980 to 2016. Menhaden, called pogies in the Gulf, were found to support the diets of 32 predator groups. When categorized by age class, the main predators of juvenile menhaden were redfish, speckled trout, and seabirds. Menhaden over one year of age were mainly preyed upon by reds, trout, and king and Spanish mackerel, as well as apex predators like blacktip sharks, gag grouper, dolphins, and coastal piscivores—including jacks, tuna, and mahi mahi.

It is interesting to note that menhaden accounted for about 85 percent of all forage fish biomass in this model, but that number is probably smaller in reality. Because other forage fish in the Gulf—like sardines, anchovies, and mullet—are not as well-studied as the menhaden, more data is needed to determine the role of all forage species in the ecosystem. Certainly, other forage species contribute to the diets of predators like snapper and grouper, so more data would be useful for future assessments of those species.

Commercial and recreational fishery statistics were added to the model to evaluate historical fishing pressure and compare potential scenarios with different harvest strategies. Notably, the Gulf menhaden reduction fishery was responsible for 48.1 percent of all commercial catch (in weight) from 1980 to 2016. When looking at scenarios where menhaden fishing pressure differed, the data showed the current amount of pressure in the Gulf cuts king mackerel biomass in half compared to where there is zero menhaden fishing. Other species are reduced, as well, including the extremely popular speckled trout and redfish.

Based on this study, Gulf menhaden support about 40 percent of the diets of both Spanish and king mackerel and about 20 percent of the diet for speckled trout. This information could be integral to the development of an ecosystem-based management plan for the Gulf menhaden fishery, considering the needs of such predators.

During the entire period, there was a 30-percent increase in fishery landings (commercial and recreational) across the Gulf. Although certain gamefish—like yellowfin tuna and swordfish—showed increased biomass estimates, large oceanic sharks, other tunas, Spanish and king mackerel, and reef piscivores decreased in biomass.

While the authors of the study noted there are still data gaps regarding predator diets throughout the Gulf, this is the most up-to-date and comprehensive diet model available. Based on the latest stock assessment published in 2019, king mackerel are not considered overfished, nor are they experiencing overfishing, but it is clear from this study that Gulf menhaden and king mackerel are connected. The next stock assessment for Spanish mackerel is scheduled to be published in 2023, which will hopefully close some of the data gaps.

With further study, it may be found that the health of king or Spanish mackerel stocks can serve as indicators of ecosystem impacts in the Gulf, like striped bass are in the Atlantic. The TRCP and its partners will be working diligently to gain more information on the role of menhaden in the Gulf of Mexico ecosystem and how redfish, speckled trout, tarpon, jacks, and grouper are affected by the industrial menhaden fishery that currently has no catch limit and very little state and federal oversight.

Learn more about our efforts to conserve menhaden in the Gulf and Atlantic.

December 1, 2021

Two State Bills That PA Hunters and Anglers Should Support to Advance Conservation

The pandemic-fueled renaissance in hunting, fishing, and boating participation can only continue if the state invests in habitat and outdoor recreation access

Pennsylvania’s 1.5 million acres of state game land, 86,000 miles of rivers and streams, and almost 2.5 million acres of state parks and forests have a lot to offer hunters, anglers, and public land users of all kinds. These natural treasures support our economy, create healthy communities, and provide recreation for our families.

To ensure this continued vitality, Governor Wolf and the General Assembly must provide adequate funding for a Growing Greener III program and a Clean Streams Fund using funding already granted to the state as part of national economic recovery efforts.

Here are two state bills that you can support to advance conservation in the Keystone State and what’s at stake where you hunt and fish.

S.B. 525 – Strengthening the Growing Greener Program

Since its creation in 1999, the Growing Greener program has funded hundreds of parks and trail projects and has a long track record of proven success in conserving the state’s fish and wildlife habitat. Right now, new state legislation is being debated that would establish a framework, build on Pennsylvania’s conservation legacy and boosting the outdoor recreation economy by providing the necessary authority for administrative agencies in the Commonwealth to fund vital conservation projects identified since the last time Growing Greener was fully authorized. Approximately $500 million would come from the dollars given to the state from the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021.

Pre-pandemic numbers showed that the outdoor recreation industry helps to drive Pennsylvania’s economy. This was even more true as residents committed to social distancing and other forms of indoor entertainment were closed due to COVID-19.

State fishing license sales have increased by 20 percent, with boat registrations up 40 percent. One-time spikes in participation are impressive enough, but it is extremely important that we continue to support this growing sector of our state’s economy. And this can’t be done without dedicated investments.

Growing Greener III would provide the funding needed to give our economy this boost while conserving natural resources that will increase our quality of life for years to come.

S.B. 832 – Establishing a Clean Streams Fund

A separate state bill would help to safeguard and restore Pennsylvania streams and rivers, while stimulating economic growth in our communities. Our great state is blessed with tens of thousands of miles of unmatched waters, but we are not without water quality challenges.

First, as use of our natural resources increases, so does the need to safeguard fish and wildlife habitat. Many state parks and forests saw 100- to 200-percent bumps in visitation, but parks with large water features saw as much as a 400-percent increase in foot traffic since the pandemic began.

At the same time, almost one-third of Pennsylvania’s surface water does not meet state water quality standards for either fish or humans, putting our health at risk and diminishing our economy. By investing $250 million of Pennsylvania’s share of American Rescue Plan funds, Senate Bill 832 would establish a new fund dedicated solely to water quality—specifically focused on “non-point” sources of pollution, such as agricultural runoff and acid mine drainage, that are spread throughout our state.

The bill—along with its House companion, H.B. 1901—would also create the Agricultural Conservation Assistance Program to help farmers implement conservation practices that keep valuable topsoil in place and reduce potentially harmful material from reaching local waterways. This would have impacts from the Keystone State all the way to the Chesapeake Bay.

This legislation would go a long way toward helping us protect Pennsylvania’s water resources and expand access to outdoor recreation, while shoring up the health of vital industries like tourism and agriculture.

Take Action Now

If you value our state’s coldwater fisheries, big game and bird habitat, and widespread public access to outdoor recreation that supports local jobs, do NOT wait. Act now and urge decision-makers to support S.B. 525 and S.B. 832 today.


Top photo courtesy of the Pennsylvania Game Commission via Flickr.

November 18, 2021

The 10 States Where Outdoor Recreation Generated the Most Money in 2020

New data reveals outdoor recreation’s share of the GDP during a year filled with uncertainty

This month, the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis released new data on the health of the outdoor recreation economy in 2020—a year of uncertainty and fear, on the one hand, but also a time that inspired many more Americans to get outside.

Overall, data showed that the outdoor recreation economy accounted for 1.8 percent, or more than $374 billion, of the gross domestic product last year. Meanwhile, outdoor recreation’s share of each state’s GDP ranged from 4.3 percent in Montana to 1.2 percent in New York and Connecticut.

Here are the 10 states with the highest percentage of GDP value coming from outdoor rec:
Montana 4.3%
Hawaii 3.8%
Vermont 3.7%
Wyoming 3.4%
Maine 3.3%
Alaska 3.2%
Florida 3.0%
Idaho 2.7%
Indiana 2.6%
New Hampshire 2.6%
Here are the 10 states where outdoor recreation drove the highest spending by dollar amount:
 United States  $      374,266,455,000.00
 California  $         44,498,223,000.00
 Florida  $         33,181,722,000.00
 Texas  $         31,654,421,000.00
 New York  $         21,092,369,000.00
 Illinois  $         13,659,718,000.00
 Pennsylvania  $         11,805,349,000.00
 Georgia  $         10,802,780,000.00
 Ohio  $         10,651,026,000.00
 Washington  $         10,274,679,000.00
 North Carolina  $           9,958,597,000.00

Consequently, the leaderboard for states with the most outdoor recreation jobs almost completely mimics that of highest outdoor recreation spending, except North Carolina jumps to #9 and Colorado squeezes into spot #10, edging out Washington by about 6,000 employees. What is perhaps more interesting is the list of places where the outdoor recreation economy represents the largest share of total employment in the state: Hawaii at 7 percent, Montana and Alaska tied at 5.4 percent, and Wyoming at 5.1 percent. These are also the states where outdoor recreation’s share of all compensation is the highest.

Measuring Pandemic Impacts

The Bureau of Economic Analysis report notes that COVID-19 stay-at-home orders “led to rapid changes in demand as consumers canceled, restricted, or redirected their spending,” and there was a 17.4-percent drop in real gross output for the outdoor recreation economy in 2020. Outdoor recreation employment also declined, from a 9-percent dip in Indiana to a pretty major 27-percent loss in Hawaii.

Of course, the bright spot of the pandemic has been the uptick in outdoor recreation participation and public land visitation—but how did this translate to spending?

The BEA splits total outdoor recreation activities into three segments: 1) The core activities, like hunting, fishing, hiking, biking, etc.; 2) supporting activities, like visiting restaurants or booking hotel rooms while traveling for outdoor recreation; and 3) other outdoor recreation, like visiting outdoor waterparks, festivals, sporting events, and concerts.

Of those three categories, as you can imagine, there has been more of an impact on travel and tourism spending and outdoor events with big crowds during COVID. Meanwhile, the value added by the conventional outdoor recreation segment in 2020 jumped to 37.4 percent, compared with 30.6 percent in 2019. This increase was due to higher spending on boating, fishing, and RVing, which will hopefully continue.

Why This Affects Conservation

The BEA makes an annual update of the Outdoor Recreation Satellite Account, which measures economic activity and sales generated by a broad range of outdoor recreation activities, including hunting, fishing, boating, and RVing. They track each industry’s production of outdoor goods and services, the sector’s contributions to the U.S. GDP, and statistics on outdoor employment and compensation. To learn more about the BEA’s 2020 report, click here.

This valuable data has only been available in the last five years, since passage of the Outdoor Recreation Jobs and Economic Impact Act. This was a major victory for the hunting and fishing community, because the more we can point to the economic benefits of outdoor recreation, the easier it becomes to advocate for habitat and access improvements and investment in conservation.

Understanding the value of outdoor recreation at the state and national level should help to push lawmakers to spend wisely on conservation priorities that will have a ripple effect on not only habitat but also hunting and fishing opportunities, employment, and our personal wellbeing.

The TRCP and partners have outlined six legislative priorities that would be a win-win for the economy and conservation, and we released a report that shows more jobs are created per million dollars invested in conservation than in most other business sectors. Learn more on our Conservation Works for America page.

October 19, 2021

New Legislation Introduced to Study and Help Stop the Spread of CWD

The Chronic Wasting Disease Research and Management Act provides a bipartisan avenue for hunters, wildlife managers, and captive industry stakeholders to address the growing threat posed by the disease

Today, Representatives Ron Kind (D-Wis.) and Glenn Thompson (R-Pa.) introduced legislation to address a host of state and federal needs in the fight to contain the spread of chronic wasting disease. CWD remains the top threat to the future of deer hunting in the U.S.

The TRCP applauds the Chronic Wasting Disease Research and Management Act, which is the result of several months of discussion and debate among wildlife partners and captive industry stakeholders. The legislation would expand the federal government’s role in the fight to address CWD in four key ways:

  • By authorizing $35 million annually for the U.S. Department of Agriculture to partner with state wildlife and agriculture agencies for CWD management activities. Learn how states use these funds here.
  • By authorizing another $35 million annually for CWD research. Specifically, research grants will focus on improved testing techniques, long-term suppression strategies, environmental transmission factors, and more.
  • By directing the USDA to solicit feedback for improvements to the Herd Certification Program, which accredits captive operations as “low-risk” for CWD contamination.
  • By requiring the USDA to develop, maintain, and publicize educational materials on CWD best practices and precautions based on the best-available science.

“The threat posed by CWD to deer hunting in America is difficult to overstate—for too long, funding woes, research questions, and ineffectual enforcement have resulted in a worsening status quo,” says Whit Fosburgh, president and CEO of the Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership. “Curbing the accelerated spread of this disease each year requires an all-encompassing effort that can only be achieved by the pragmatic, bipartisan approach in this bill. The TRCP and our partners are grateful for the leadership of Representatives Kind and Thompson and look forward to working alongside both lawmakers to bring this critical legislation to passage.”

To learn more about CWD and how to get involved, read our latest blog.

Photo by Kirsten Strough courtesy of the USDA.



Theodore Roosevelt’s experiences hunting and fishing certainly fueled his passion for conservation, but it seems that a passion for coffee may have powered his mornings. In fact, Roosevelt’s son once said that his father’s coffee cup was “more in the nature of a bathtub.” TRCP has partnered with Afuera Coffee Co. to bring together his two loves: a strong morning brew and a dedication to conservation. With your purchase, you’ll not only enjoy waking up to the rich aroma of this bolder roast—you’ll be supporting the important work of preserving hunting and fishing opportunities for all.

$4 from each bag is donated to the TRCP, to help continue their efforts of safeguarding critical habitats, productive hunting grounds, and favorite fishing holes for future generations.

Learn More

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