DGIF ‘Refer A Friend’ campaign to help increase conservation funding

Published 9:58 am Wednesday, November 28, 2018

by Edward Herndon

What was the high point roughly 25 years ago when the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries issued nearly 340,000 licenses to hunters on an annual basis, the department has certified on average only 267,000 hunting licenses over the past five years. Just over those last five years, DGIF has reported a 3 percent decline in the number of licensed hunters that we certify annually.

In addition to those who fish Virginia’s abundant waters, hunters in Virginia represent the original conservationists and play a significant role in supporting DGIF’s mission to conserve fish, wildlife and their habitats. Each license purchase helps fund efforts to provide for healthy and sustainable fish and wildlife resources in our Commonwealth as well as increased opportunities to enjoy them.

“Because of this, it is important that DGIF recruit as many outdoor enthusiasts as possible. DGIF is the first state wildlife agency in the country to offer such a referral program, with the goal this fall of encouraging existing hunters to recruit new individuals into hunting. This new promotion is also part of DGIF’s new R3 Plan, which stands for Recruitment, Retention, and Reactivation, and outlines several strategic efforts to increase people’s participation in the outdoors,” said Bob Duncan, Executive Director of DGIF.

DGIF’s new fall campaign is set up to encourage hunters to recruit their friends, family or anyone they know into hunting.

“Hunting is an outdoor activity that can be enjoyed by all people but learning to hunt for the first time or starting to hunt again can be difficult for many reasons. One of the biggest barriers for people who want to start hunting is knowing someone to go with who can be a mentor and teach them how to hunt safely and successfully.

The Refer a Friend program was designed to help foster these connections in order to create enjoyable experiences among new and experienced outdoor enthusiasts,” said Edward Herndon, DGIF R3 Coordinator.

DGIF’s Refer-a-Friend program rewards current licensed hunters with special discounts from Green Top Hunting and Fishing Online Retail Site when they refer a new hunter to buy their first license in Virginia. As a result, both the current and new hunter will receive an exclusive DGIF hat displaying our vintage deer stamp and will be entered into a sweepstakes to win prizes such as a Yeti Cooler, a $100 gift card to Bass Pro Shops, and DGIF limited edition knife.

The sweepstakes and Refer-a-Friend program are open to anyone with a current hunting license. The sweepstakes ends on December 31, 2018. Hunters simply login to their Go Outdoors Virginia account to generate and send their unique referral code.

For over a century, DGIF has been committed to finding innovative, successful, and long-term funding to support conservation in Virginia. Thanks to hunters, anglers, and those who love the outdoors protecting our wild places, keeping our waters clean, and managing the states wildlife resources will remain a top priority for the next 100 years. For more information, please visit: https://www.dgif.virginia.gov/refer-a-friend/.

DGIF wants to remind all outdoorsmen and women to wear blaze orange or blaze pink when they are in the field.

EDWARD HERNDON is a spokesman for the DGIF. He can be reached at 804-367-0585 or Edward.Herndon@dgif.virginia.gov.