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ATA’s Explore Bowfishing Program Gains Traction at 2017 ATA Trade Show

The ATA’s Explore Bowfishing program opens doors by targeting a new but existing audience – anglers – while expanding the market for bowfishing-specific archery equipment.
Photo Credit: ATA

Author: Cassie Scott

ATA’s Explore Bowfishing program launched in West Virginia in October, and soon after gained lots of attention and momentum at the 2017 ATA Trade Show for its push nationwide.

Explore Bowfishing is the ATA’s latest educational program, and helps instructors, educators and program leaders teach youths basic bowfishing skills. Students also learn about bowfishing gear, the many fish species they can pursue, and the various habitats where fish live.

Explore Bowfishing was modeled after ATA’s successful Explore Bowhunting program, which teaches youths basic bowhunting skills. Both programs fill needs that industry leaders identified in the bowhunting market.

The Explore Bowfishing and Explore Bowhunting booths in the Member Services Area at the 2017 ATA Trade Show introduced retailers to the programs’ curriculum and equipment.

Katie Haymes, ATA’s senior manager of education programs, said January’s ATA Trade Show was the perfect platform to introduce the new program to industry professionals, and explain its curriculum and benefits.

“Retailers and other industry members got to see the curriculum firsthand,” Haymes said. “They saw how the program — and its counterpart, Explore Bowhunting — can help them reach new markets and grow their customer base at a community level. Our team also outlined how retailers could support or get involved with the program at several levels.”

Haymes said the program was well-received at the ATA Trade Show.

“Many attendees acknowledged the need for a bowfishing program, and recognized Explore Bowfishing filled that void,” Haymes said. “People were excited and interested in obtaining the program for their state. They were also enthusiastic about its potential to grow participation and awareness of the sport.”

The Explore Bowfishing program will help instructors, educators and program leaders teach youths basic bowfishing skills, and increase the number of archery participants nationwide.

Explore Bowfishing expands the consumer base for bowfishing participation and equipment sales. It also helps bridge the gap between archers and hunting while reaching new consumers in the angling market.

The ATA outreach team is launching Explore Bowfishing with its partners in state agencies and nongovernment organizations. ATA’s team explains how to easily fold the program into each state’s recruitment, retention and reactivation efforts. They also outline how the program helps the archery and bowhunting industry.

As state agencies jump aboard, ATA’s outreach team visits the states to teach workshops that prepare educators and instructors to launch the program.

ATA-member retailers can get involved three different ways:

1. If your state’s fish-and-wildlife agency adopts Explore Bowfishing, contact the agency to request materials and attend an instructor workshop. A list of state coordinators and their contact information can be found here.

2. If your community already offers the program through schools, 4-H clubs or the parks-and-rec department, get involved or partner with the program to help connect students with equipment at your store.

3. If your state has not adopted Explore Bowfishing, Haymes encourages you to contact your state-agency representatives to voice support for the program. In addition, ATA members can conduct their own programming after contacting the ATA to obtain curriculum materials.

As state agencies adopt Explore Bowfishing, ATA’s outreach team visits the state to teach workshops that prepare educators and instructors to launch the program.

“No other programs like this are out there,” Haymes said. “If retailers and industry members support Explore Bowfishing in their states and communities, the potential to increase participation can be substantial.”

To learn more and to request Explore Bowfishing materials for your community, contact Josh Gold, ATA’s Education Programs Manager.

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