Are Wildlife Recreationists Conservationists?

Check out this article Ashley Dayer, IWJV Strategic Communications Consultant, co-authored with her colleagues from Cornell University on birdwatchers and hunters. The article, now in “The Journal of Wildlife Management”, presents findings on conservation behaviors of these two groups and a third often-overlooked group: hunter-birdwatchers.

Click this link to read the journal abstract and article: 

Additionally, you may be interested in Scientific American blog post by article author Dr. Caren Cooper that discusses the significance of these findings. A press release from the Lab of Ornithology is also here.


Key findings:

·      Both hunters and birdwatchers were 3-5 times more likely than non-recreationists to engage in conservation behaviors.

·      Hunter-birdwatchers were the group most likely to engage in conservation behaviors (8 times more likely than non-recreationists).

·      When it comes to conservation donations, hunter-birdwatchers were 2.7 times more likely to donate to support local environmental protection than non-recreationists, followed by birdwatchers (2.1 times more likely) and hunters (1.9 times more likely).

·      Other significant differences between both birdwatchers and hunters and non-recreationists were observed for the following conservation activities: private land habitat enhancement, public land habitat enhacement, and wildlife recreation advocacy.

·      Birdwatchers and hunter-birdwatchers were also more likely to support conservation policies and participate in environmental groups; hunters were not.


Key implications:

·      Diversified agency portfolios that serve hunters and birdwatchers are likely to bring long-term gains for conservation.

·      Programs to support wildlife viewing are a wise investment in developing citizen-conservationists.

·      There is a need to better understand and identify hunter-birdwatchers – our conservation superstars.