Aug 13, 2019

5 Minutes with David Allen, Executive Director, IHEA

IHEA continues to make strides in helping hunters of all ages get outside in a safe and responsible matter. Their latest endeavor, which launched last week, is called “Hunter’s Connect” and is a part of their HunterEd program. The point of this program is to help connect the dots from learning to “doing” via a variety of tools – most of them available on a digital platform, which you’ll read David talking about more below. I encourage you to check out Hunter’s Connect YouTube https://www.youtube.com/HuntersConnect and share it across your social media platforms as well. – Michelle Scheuermann, editor, Archery Wire.

Q: David, you’ve been with IHEA for a little over a year now, what has been some of the highs working in this new organization? What have been a few of the challenges?

A: The highs for me would be in discovering just how much potential I believe there is in expanding the outreach to HunterEd grads and new hunters who have entered the system. Also, it is gratifying to see that not all HunterEd grads today are ages 10-15 or young kids; there is a growing number of adults going through HunterEd for many reasons. It is all positive growth for the hunting industry and we can do so much more if just engage these new hunters better, which is the objective of Hunters Connect.

The challenges have been to find my way through the dynamics and paradigms of how “things have always been done” and seek ways to move that forward toward the goal of more and better hunting customers.

Q: You recently announced a new program, “Hunter’s Connect,” which you worked with several partners to make happen, including funds from Bass Pro Shop’s and Cabela’s Outdoor Fund. It is quite the undertaking to create a tool that answers “how-to,” “where-to” and “when-to” go hunting for those coming out of Hunter’s Ed programs. How did you tackle this process? How did you successfully work across organizations to come to a consensus on content?

A: The choices of what content to produce was actually one of the easier parts. There is no limit to the kind of content that is needed, so we just tried to start at the basics and build from there. A bit of a bigger challenge has been to get industry partners who are willing to invest with us and provide the funding needed to produce the content. We have been really fortunate that between Randy Newberg (our content producer) and myself, we have reached out to industry brands and NGOs that we have relationships with and they have willingly agreed to back our project with the funding to required.

Q: While there isn’t a replacement for that in-the-field-mentoring – would you say Hunter’s Connect is close to completing that mentor loop and encouraging folks to get in the woods?

A: Mentoring is a key component in building better and new hunters but it doesn’t scale well; it is very hard to get large quantities of mentors to participate. So Hunters Connect will provide information and hopefully some inspiration via digital content which is how all adults under the age of about 50 learn and function today. So we felt that providing this content in a format and style that most young adults are accustomed to was a good strategy. We have created a dedicated YouTube channel with a wide variety of subject of the How-To, When-To, Where-To, What-To do in terms of hunting methods, techniques and requirements.

Q: What is on the horizon for IHEA?

A: The next immediate goal I would like to address for IHEA-USA is to create a communication platform for the some 55,000 HunterEd instructors in the US. These men and women volunteers are the backbone of the HunterEd system in our country and we want to create more and better tools for them to continue to teach and lead and mentor HunterEd as we move forward. Teaching HunterEd is changing with online and other nuances; our volunteer instructors need more resources to continue to be relevant.

Thank you David for your time and energy to this endeavor! -Michelle