Author: Cassie Gasaway
Nearly 1,500 bowhunting-themed images are available for ATA members, state agencies, nongovernmental organizations and other industry members to use in their marketing and communications efforts. The images are a result of a 2022 grant awarded through the Multistate Conservation Grant Program, administered by the Association of Fish & Wildlife Agencies.
Anyone can enjoy bowhunting, regardless of their age, size, physical abilities, social status or ethnic background. The images will help entities make bowhunting more welcoming, inclusive and relevant, while recruiting and appealing to racially diverse archers.
Dakota Rogers, pictured above, is an archery instructor with NubAbility. Photo credit: Bowhunters United
The ATA partnered with NubAbility and Hunters of Color to conduct three photo shoots across the country featuring people of color. History and statistics in America reveal a disconnect between minority groups and bowhunting. The ATA hopes the images will help ATA members, partners and others represent and connect with diverse audiences. And because the photos feature real bowhunters (not models) from different ethnic backgrounds, industry members can confidently and comfortably use the images in their digital and print communications.
To make the images even more authentic and unique, ATA staff also worked with state agencies to identify ideal public-land photo shoot locations. Each shoot took place in a different region to represent varied landscapes and topography. As a result, users can find images from Oregon, Tennessee and Minnesota. All of the bowhunting talent involved used their own equipment and clothing.
Kim Nguyen, pictured above, discovered her love for archery at a local archery shop and later connected with Becoming an Outdoors Woman. Photo credit: Bowhunters United
Authentic Talent and Locations, Authentic Images
Kim Nguyen, one of the women from the third photo shoot, was happy to participate. She liked that the photo shoot showcased “ethnicities and adult hunters that came from nonhunting families,” she said. “We have more obstacles to overcome than most traditional hunters and youth. I’m grateful to be a part of the photo shoot to encourage more ethnic women to get into archery hunting.”
Nguyen is from Vietnam and moved to the United States when she was 6 years old. No one in her family hunted, and she didn’t have access to private land. Fortunately, she found archery after using a Groupon coupon at a local archery shop. She later participated in a Becoming an Outdoors Woman event through the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources and started bowhunting. Now 48, she’s been bowhunting for 10 years and is a regular bowhunting mentor. She believes the public should also see more images of adult female bowhunters.
“I hope (the images) bring more focus on adult new hunters, especially women. Most women believe hunting is all about firearms. There isn’t enough exposure and understanding that archery hunting is just as effective,” she said. “Additionally, many conservation organizations and state agencies currently focus on youth but neglect the adult new hunters who are the real people who buy licenses and gear and are conservation conscious.”
Nguyen loves bowhunting whitetails in her home state of Minnesota. The Minnesota shoot took place at the Minnesota Valley National Wildlife Refuge, established in 1976 near the Twin Cities. The refuge is more than 14,000 acres, spans rural and urban communities, and welcomes about 16,000 hunters annually.
Cortney Solum, writer and editor at the branch of communications and digital services for the National Wildlife Refuge System, likes that the images feature real hunters on public lands and wildlife refuges that are accessible to all Americans.
“Featuring actual hunters in the photo shoot will help show hunters of color and women that archery hunting is for them,” Solum said. “Seeing yourself in photos helps hunters feel comfortable and welcomed in outdoor recreation and in particular on national wildlife refuges.”
Like other refuges across the nation, the Minnesota Valley NWR is open for most state hunting seasons and holds special hunts for specific management needs.
Download the images from the R3 Clearinghouse. Photo Credit: Bowhunters United
Get the Images
The images are now available in the R3 clearinghouse, a digital repository for hunting, recreational target shooting, angling, boating and other outdoor-recreation materials. State agencies, NGOs and other partners can access the R3 clearinghouse. The ATA also has copies and can share them with ATA members upon request.
To get the images, log in to the R3 clearinghouse or contact Josh Gold, ATA’s senior manager of R3 and state relations, at (507) 233-8145 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Additionally, the ATA’s Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Committee is creating a toolkit with tips and instructions on how to use the images authentically. It should be available in the coming months. Stay tuned.