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June 26, 2018

NSSF R3 Efforts Leading to Increased Participation

By NSSF Staff

Recruitment, retention and reactivation — known simply as R3 — is an effort of paramount importance to the future of the shooting sports, hunting and wildlife and resource managers. It is also high on the list of NSSF’s priorities.

Participation Key to Future Industry Success

NSSF was a key participant in the inaugural R3 Symposium, which took place late in May in Lincoln, Nebraska, and was hosted by the Council to Advance Hunting and the Shooting Sports. The symposium kicked off with a plenary session featuring a roundtable discussion with leaders from the fishing, archery, hunting and target shooting industries. Steve Hornady, President of Hornady Manufacturing and an NSSF board member, was a panelist and reminded the audience of more than 300 R3 professionals about the importance of increased participation for the future success of our industry, as well as the important role excise taxes on firearms and ammunition play in supporting state wildlife agency budgets.

“The firearms and ammunition industry has had a strong focus on R3 over the years and awareness of the role we play in collecting the excise taxes that are critical to the NGOs and wildlife agencies operations,” said Hornady. “Symposiums like this are helpful to focus on what works and what doesn’t. Each of our industries are being criticized by both anti-gun and anti-hunting organizations. Supporting one another in opposition to those attacks will be mutually beneficial. Coordinating efforts between industry and those adjacent to it, such as non-governmental organizations, wildlife agencies on both the state and federal levels and resource managers, are key to collectively getting more folks involved regularly and consistently in hunting and target shooting.”

Taking A Cue From Anglers

Although the symposium agenda focus was on increasing participation in hunting and target shooting, the fishing industry was also invited as much can be learned from their recent successes recruiting new, non-traditional participants. There is also, of course, much audience crossover. People who hunt tend also to fish, and many anglers are also firearms owners. Dave Chanda, Vice President at the Recreational Boating and Fishing Foundation, discussed how his industry found success in better involving Hispanic sportsmen and women in angling with the “Vamos A Pascar” campaign, a variation of the popular “Take Me Fishing” campaign. Of particular note was a significant increase in participation by females, something Chanda credited to having women as the primary and often sole focal point in fishing activities via targeted marketing campaigns.

“Women are also a driving force in the firearms industry, with a number of indicators pointing to them being our fastest growing segment,” said Jim Curcuruto, NSSF’s Director of Research and Market Development, who attended the symposium. “When Chandra discussed the design of the Vamos A Pascar and just how well it performed, you could see an ‘aha moment’ ripple through the crowd. And that’s why think-tank gatherings like this are so important. They deliver insights and innovations that are instantly actionable.”

#LetsGoShooting, #LetsGoHunting and So Much More

Curcuruto also presented at the symposium, providing the audience with an overview of work NSSF has previously done and current directions it’s taking on the R3 front.

“NSSF has been involved with R3 for decades through nationwide initiatives such as National Hunting and Fishing Day, Families Afield and the Scholastic Clay Target Program,” he said. “Our First Shots program is another grassroots effort designed to get people to the range where they can safely and enjoyably take their very first shots, a program that also builds a bridge between these new shooters and the retailers and ranges in their communities.

“Last year we introduced National Shooting Sports Month, which is perhaps our most comprehensive R3 initiative to date. Taking place throughout the month of August, National Shooting Sports Month is, at its core, a celebration of the shooting sports. It emphasizes mentorship of new shooters by experienced, regular participants in the shooting sports and urges those who have lapsed in participation to grab their gear and head to the range. Like First Shots, it also provides instant resource connection for shooters novice to seasoned. Retailers and ranges across the country upload tournaments, matches, sales events, celebrity appearances family day specials and more into the industry-facing website where they also find promotional resources. NSSF’s, launching shortly, is our consumer-facing website and links directly to the events calendar, providing inspiration and a platform for planning out your shooting activities for the month.

“We’re very excited about,” Curcuruto continued. “National Shooting Sports Month is just one component of it. The site is actually designed to be a year-round, go-to resource for every shooter, with comprehensive information on all the target shooting sports, a library of learning and safety resources, shooting skills videos, pro tips and more. Later this summer, we’ll be launching, which will mirror those resources, but for hunters, with direct links to state wildlife agencies, licensing information, game tips and tales from the field, among other topics. A key feature of both sites will enable participants to easily invite someone to the range or field, which helps support the mentoring component of these efforts.

“This is just the tip of the R3 iceberg for us. There’s much more coming from NSSF in the months to come,” Curcuruto said in closing. “R3 is on the cusp of change, and there is a great opportunity in front of us.”

For additional information on the R3 movement and how you can be more involved, contact Jim Curcuruto at 203-426-1320 x234.

You may also be interested in: Firearms Industry: Get Involved in National Shooting Sports Month!

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