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Firearm Industry Helps Wisconsin Recruit Hunters
Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources Receives $13,878 Grant

NEWTOWN, Conn.—The firearm industry says it wants more hunters in Wisconsin, and it's putting money where its mouth is.

The industry's trade association, the National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF), has awarded $13,878 in a grant to the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources. NSSF says the grant recognizes the agency for developing one of the nation's most promising ideas for recruiting and retaining hunters.

"We rewarded the strongest concepts for strengthening America's hunting and conservation system into the future. Recipients this year have developed proposals that are creative and far-sighted and resolve some of the real barriers facing hunters today," said Doug Painter, president of NSSF.

Wisconsin's proposal: Expand the scope of the existing Learn to Hunt program, which utilizes a variety of approaches to recruit newcomers, especially youth. The agency plans to add events and partners, build a network of volunteers, and expand the visibility of the program.

"Passing on the conservation ethic to future generations is critical. Hunting is an important way for people to experience the natural world and gain an appreciation for it. This grant will help us pass on the conservation ethic and enhance Wisconsin's hunting heritage at the same time," said Randy Stark, Wisconsin DNR chief conservation warden.

The grant was made through NSSF's Hunting Heritage Partnership program, which this year awarded $377,000 in grants to 10 state conservation agencies. This is the fourth year of the granting program. To date, the program has allocated more than $1.7 million to 33 states.

Painter said, "More and more, state conservation agencies nationwide are getting into marketing, youth programs, responsive management and human dimensions research. Our industry believes that's vital and we're willing to help pay for it."

Included among 2006 grantees are Idaho and Maryland which received a grant for the first time; Wisconsin which received a grant for the second time; Nebraska, Nevada, Tennessee, Vermont and Wyoming which received a grant for the third time; and New Hampshire and Ohio which received a grant for the fourth time.

Nineteen proposals from 15 states were submitted this year to the Hunting Heritage Partnership judging committee of NSSF.

Formed in 1961, NSSF is celebrating its 45th birthday in 2006. The organization recently reached important new milestones, topping 3,000 members and hosting the largest annual trade show (SHOT Show) in the history of the firearms industry.

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