In order for your program to create long-term hunters, your instructors need to understand the process a person goes through to become a hunter. Providing instructor training on the Outdoor Recreation Adoption Model and various theoretical stages a person progresses through to become a hunter will provide a broader context for their individual instruction tasks and allow them to see how the program “strings together” all of its parts.
As previously noted, hunting is a complex recreation involving considerable knowledge and many different skills; it is not likely adopted during a single exposure. Numerous exposures and trials involving both hunting and hunting-related activity will likely be required before a person becomes a full-fledged, independent hunter.
The Outdoor Recreation Adoption Model identifies five “stages a person undergoes when adopting any new activity. These stages include:
- Continuation with support
- Continuation without support
Your program is best viewed as a “bridge” between these stages. It is important to understand what “stage” your participants are in so you can adapt the information being presented to their needs.
Some participants are “early adopters,” and comfortable with taking risks and learning on their own, even if it means a relatively high level of “failure.” Others will require more formal instruction and encouragement.
Having your instructors communicate with participants and understanding their needs is key to providing the information they need. Each stage should include review activities to reinforce knowledge and skills learned in an earlier stage, as well as new, more advanced knowledge and skills.
Trying to create “shortcuts,” or assuming they your participants have mastered the necessary skills and knowledge necessary may seriously undermine your program's and participants' long-term success.
See Outdoor Recreation Adoption Model for more information on this topic.