Date of Graduation
Master of Science in Agricultural & Extension Education (MS)
Agricultural Education, Communications and Technology
Second Committee Member
Hunting participation numbers have steadily declined since the 1980s and Generation Z is not engaging in hunting. Hunting is one of the most effective tools for managing wildlife populations and ensuring the success and local ecosystem conservation. Many wildlife stewardship institutions, such as Arkansas Game and Fish Commission in Arkansas, are funded by sales taxes imposed on firearms, ammo, and archery equipment. With a decline in hunting participation, it is imperative state-run wildlife stewardship organizations and other hunting institutions learn the best practices for communicating with younger generations. This study sought to understand Generation Z’s perceptions of hunting and conservation in Arkansas. Additionally, research sought to learn where Generation Z receives information on hunting and conservation and what information is telling them. Finally, the research sought to learn how Generation Z prefers to spend time outdoors, if not hunting. The Outdoor Recreation Adoption Model guided the study to explore how societal support and information consumption impacted an individual’s opinions and behaviors. The study utilized a mixed-methods explanatory design with the follow-up explanations variant to achieve the research goals. Subjects were selected using stratified purposeful sampling and surveyed using Qualtrics. Following the surveys, 23 survey respondents participated in semi-structured interviews. Survey closed-ended questions were analyzed using descriptive statistics. Follow-up interviews and open-ended questions were analyzed using the constant comparative method and NVivo 11 coding software. The results showed Generation Z preferred hunting for food over hunting for sport and Generation Z saw a connection between hunting and environmental conservation because of population management for deer and invasive species. Respondents were consuming information on seasons, animal populations, and trophy hunting in Africa, and their top communication channels were friends and family, websites, and social media platforms including Instagram, TikTok, YouTube, and Facebook. Finally, most respondents spent their time outdoors walking and enjoy spending their time outdoors walking and hiking, among other activities. The results indicated that state-run wildlife stewardship organizations should focus on promoting the ecological and monetary benefits of hunting and individual stories and motivations of current hunters, particularly on social media accounts. Additionally, these organizations should create avenues for those who do not hunt to connect and learn from seasoned hunters.
Ferguson, H. (2023). Generation Z’s Perceptions of Hunting and Conservation Efforts in Arkansas. Graduate Theses and Dissertations Retrieved from https://scholarworks.uark.edu/etd/4910