Hundreds of wildlife students at four Tennessee universities will experience waterfowl hunting’s critical role in conservation
BISMARCK, NORTH DAKOTA — The Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency has cemented its support of Delta Waterfowl’s University Hunting Program by awarding a $104,000 grant. The grant covers the costs of delivering UHP to students at four Tennessee universities for four years.
Delta’s UHP arose in response to a brewing crisis: Unlike in past generations, today up to 70 percent of wildlife management students — who’ll one day make critical decisions about waterfowl hunting and conservation — do not come from hunting backgrounds. The UHP curriculum includes firearms safety, wild game preparation, hunting’s role in conservation, and most popular with the students, an actual waterfowl hunt.
Since 2019, a surprising number of students even went from curious, first-time hunters to avid waterfowlers.
“Delta’s success in R3 — recruitment, retention and reactivation — of waterfowl hunters, especially at the university level, is extremely impressive,” said Jennifer Wisniewski, TWRA chief of communications and outreach. “The Delta Waterfowl University Hunting Program is a great model, and we wanted to get on board with it in a big way. At TWRA, we realize we can’t do hunter R3 alone, so we seek out quality partners like Delta and support them with funding. It’s a winning solution for everyone.”
The grant covers delivery of Delta UHP courses for up to 400 students at Christian Brothers University, Cleveland State Community College, University of Tennessee-Martin and the University of Tennessee-Knoxville. The schools offer wildlife sciences and agricultural programs, in which an introduction to waterfowl hunting is especially important.
Delta’s ultimate goal is to deliver UHP at every university in North America that offers a wildlife program.
“We are so pleased that as a result of this TWRA grant, all these students will have the opportunity to experience waterfowl hunting for the first time,” said Joel Brice, chief conservation officer for Delta Waterfowl. “Delta’s UHP delivers exposure to all phases of waterfowl hunting, from classroom training, to firearms safety and familiarity, to actual hunting, to preparing and enjoying the birds taken on the hunt. Even if the participants decide not to continue as hunters, they’ll gain understanding and appreciation for what it’s all about and the efforts of waterfowl hunters to conserve the birds and protect the future of hunting.”
Delta Waterfowl Foundation is The Duck Hunters Organization, a leading conservation group working to produce ducks and ensure the tradition of duck hunting in North America. Visit deltawaterfowl.org.