Over the years, the Council to Advance Hunting and the Shooting Sports (Council) and its partners have found success in the National R3 Initiative through collaboration. From 2013 to 2016, a group of R3 professionals worked diligently to craft the National Hunting and Shooting Sports Action Plan (National Plan). From 2017 to 2018, another collective group convened as the 2018 National R3 Symposium Steering Committee to develop the agenda and content of the National R3 Symposium. Time and again, this process has resulted in successful efforts that have advanced the National R3 Initiative. During the span of three short years, the conservation community has invested valuable resources into the R3 Initiative as more than 40 state fish and wildlife agencies and numerous conservation partners have developed new R3-dedicated staff positions to lead their R3 efforts; an action which was one of the first recommended tasks for organizations to pursue as outlined in the National Plan. Additionally, organizations have hosted R3 workshops and summits, and a few have released strategic R3 plans and guidance documents. Together, the Council and its partners have demonstrated that hunting and shooting sports participants are critical elements of American culture and conservation and are worth the investment of time and work to ensure they remain a vital component in the future of outdoor recreation and wildlife conservation.
In early 2018, the Council Board of Directors recognized that these significant investments had been made and tasked the Council staff to identify key areas which should be addressed to further advance implementation of the National Plan and hunting and shooting sports R3 efforts at the national, regional and then state level. To accomplish this task, the Council developed the National R3 Implementation Workgroup (IWG) and in late 2018, the Council began working with the IWG to review the current adoption of R3 best practices and identify factors that might be halting further implementation of the National Plan and hunting and shooting sports R3 efforts. Together, this workgroup of 24 R3 experts (representing 11 states and 18 organizations) dedicated more than 1,500 hours of work over six months to document ten key R3 Implementation Priority (RIP) areas with more than 74 different needs that the collective R3 Community should address to achieve the ultimate goal of creating more hunting and target shooting participants.
The Council, along with the support of its numerous partners, released an Interim Report on the progress of the IWG on June 15, 2019. Through this structured process, the IWG has a clear and comprehensive understanding of the challenges to R3 implementation that will lead to the successful development of state, regional, and national work plans to tactically remove barriers to the implementation of R3 efforts. Further, this process is expected to yield many products that the R3 community may use to advance R3 implementation. The IWG has developed this interim report to inform the Council Board of Directors and partners on the needs and opportunities that must be addressed to fully implement the actions emphasized in the National Plan and to advance hunting and shooting sports R3 efforts.
During early 2019, the Council surveyed state fish and wildlife agency employees and other key partners to prioritize the RIP topics, then reconvened the group in July 2019 to begin development of a strategic plan to address the priority RIP topics using the feedback of the survey of key stakeholders. During this time, several members of the IWG were added to reflect the expertise needed to move forward with implementing the identified priority areas. Based on survey results, the group decided on five projects that could be completed with the resources available to address the priorities identified by the stakeholders. They then formed five new subworkgroups and spent the next year and another 2,000 combined hours developing these solutions.
In August 2020 at the Virtual R3 Forum, these five solution-based projects were announced: the National R3 Clearinghouse, the Marketing Guide, the State R3 Structure Case Studies, the Mentoring Program Self-assessment, and Strategies for Building an R3 Culture. As of September 2020, these resources are close to completion but still in progress.
Immediate next steps include completing and polishing the aforementioned five projects by the end of 2020, documenting this work in a Progress Report, then determining the next phase of the IWG program as a whole.
For more information on the IWG or this process, please contact Kristen Black at Kristen@cahss.org.
Co-chairs: Samantha Pedder and Kristen Black