12.15.09 | ATA Eyes Europe's Bowhunting Potential
NEW ULM, Minn. — The Archery Trade Association recently provided $15,000 in grants to the European Bowhunting Association (EBA) to help the EBA expand or create bowhunting opportunities in Italy, Russia, Bulgaria and other countries across the Old World.
The EBA is a grassroots organization with active members in 18 of Europe's 26 countries. Jay McAninch, the ATA's CEO/president; and Michelle Doerr, ATA director of archery and bowhunting programs, attended recent EBA annual meetings to learn how the ATA can help grow archery and bowhunting overseas. Earlier this year ATA helped fund two EBA initiatives:
The ATA will receive an update on those efforts Jan. 12 when meeting in Columbus, Ohio, with international archery representatives - including EBA and CIC officers -- before the 2010 ATA Trade Show, Jan. 13-15. The ATA's international efforts also include the Federation of Associations for Hunting and Conservation of the European Union (FACE). These three groups are similar in stature to the Safari Club International.
Most Europeans don't enjoy bowhunting opportunities common to North Americans. As a result, their governments often can't perceive the cultural and economic benefits provided by wildlife and bowhunting. And because the EBA is an all-volunteer group, its members often can't afford to visit neighboring countries. The travel and meetings are an important part of the EBA's effort to persuade officials to expand or create bowhunting initiatives.
Mitch King, ATA's director of government relations, is working with the Europeans to create specific plans to maximize ATA's funding. King said it's vital to help EBA and other groups work with clubs, distributors, manufacturers, and archery and hunting shops to promote archery and bowhunting. The ATA intends to:
"We'll do all we can to help, which is why we work with specific organized groups," King said. "They're the ones best suited to sell archery and bowhunting in their own back yards."
Although Europe has 7 million hunters, many of its 20,000 bowhunters must travel elsewhere to enjoy their sport. Larry Griffith, president of the Bohning Co., and chair of the ATA Board of Directors, believes ATA can help grow bowhunting in Europe while expanding the archery industry's global market.
"Whether Europeans hunt at home or far away, they usually buy U.S. products," Griffith said. "If we get more of them to bowhunt at home and over here, it benefits everyone from manufacturers to U.S. pro shops."
Did You Know?
ATA officers and staff have attended recent meetings of the European Bowhunting Association, held in Germany and France, and continues working with the EBA to expand bowhunting opportunities in Europe.