Remember that it will likely take numerous sessions for a person to become confident enough with new knowledge and skills to begin hunting independently. Very few people participate independently after a single exposure to a new skill. Self-identification and confidence is the result of repeated trials. See the Understanding the Outdoor Recreation Adoption Model (ORAM) for more information on the various stages a person goes through while adopting a new activity.
However, each trial should not be the same activity over and over; each re-trial should include a review of previous material, as well as new and/or more challenging experiences, and should be conducted within a “continuation with support” mindset. The goal of these re-trials is to build confidence in applying the new skills and knowledge, and ultimately prepare the participant to be able to operate in the “continuation without support” stage.
During trials, it is often helpful to ask participants:
1) “How confident are you in doing this (activity, skill, etc.) on your own?”
2) What additional skills or knowledge do you need so that you could participate in this activity on your own?”
Supporting activities could include:
- Facebook page for your locavore program graduates
- New hunter email (or mailed) newsletter
- New hunter online forum where they can ask questions and post ideas and experiences
- Other online hunting forums
- “Class reunions” or “alumni events” for your locavore program graduates
- "Graduate day" as part of the class. Invite them to participate and help instruct.
- Membership in a local hunting/conservation club
- Attending hunting and outdoor expos
- Hunting with their classmates/fishing buddies
- Graduate venison cook off
- Monthly events for your locavore program graduates
- Graduate led equipment-shopping events for new program attendees
It is important to remember that each individual must navigate every stage before (s)he can pursue any given activity confidently and independently. Trying to create “shortcuts” may lead to disappointments or frustrations.
It is also important to remember that a single agency or organization does not have to provide programs or activities for all of the stages. Creating cooperative partnerships is an effective way to share the workload, as well as the responsibility for creating new hunters.