The GoHuntPA campaign is ongoing, but for how much longer? That’s the question.
Last year, you may have noticed, the Pennsylvania Game Commission was running ads on television and radio trying to encourage people to hunt.
This year? Not so much.
That’s not because the commission ended to its marketing campaign. Rather, “the scope changed this year” to focus more on digital media, said spokesman Travis Lau.
Results – or the lack of them – are the reason.
The agency’s marketing campaign, highlighted by its GoHuntPA website, (found here) was meant to not so much create new hunters as to bring back ones who had gone away.
Some surveys done for the commission have shown that 18 to 25 percent of Pennsylvania residents consider themselves hunters. Yet fewer than 10 percent buy a license in any given year.
The marketing campaign – carried out largely in eight counties, including Allegheny, Westmoreland and Butler – has been an attempt to get more of those people to hunt year in and year out. It started last year.
License sales actually declined in 2014 compared to 2013, though, according to the commission’s annual report. So far this year, they’re down another percentage point, Lau said, though he stressed that the agency is still selling licenses.
He also said that because other states saw even bigger drops in license sales last year, “there’s an argument to be made that it worked.”
The commission has spent $950,000 – all of it federal grant money – on the campaign so far. It has another $1.5 million in grants available to spend over the next three years.
The commission hasn’t decided whether it will. Those talks will be held after it reviews a year-end report from its media contractor, Lau said.
“At the end of the year we’ll evaluate the program and decide what to do moving forward,” Lau said.