Delta Waterfowl’s college hunting program is thriving for wildlife students

BISMARCK, NORTH DAKOTA — The Delta College Hunting Program, which originated at Louisiana State University in the late 1990s when Dr. Frank Rohwer organized hunts for his wildlife students, has grown exponentially since which became a formal Delta program in 2017.

Many of today’s wildlife management students do not come from families with hunting histories. UHP introduces these future wildlife management professionals to waterfowl hunting so they understand the important role it plays in conservation. Additionally, UHP aims to recruit students to become lifelong waterfowl hunters introducing their families and friends to our world.

In 2021, Delta held UHP events at 36 universities with 222 students despite the challenges of COVID-19. The program doubled in 2022, with 415 students from 72 universities across North America participating.

“We met all of our UHP targets by 2022,” said Jacob Bushaw, Delta’s R3 coordinator for the United States. “We had big events at many universities, including Cornell University, Ohio State University, and the University of Florida. We had 20 wildlife students at Florida UHP, and most of them had never held a gun before that event.”

Aidan Flores, Delta’s R3 coordinator for New Mexico, Oklahoma, Louisiana and Texas, reported that 16 universities in the region participated in UHP and expects to add eight more in 2023.

In Canada, 87 students from 11 colleges/universities participated in UHP, according to Alan Cattrysse, Delta’s R3 coordinator for Canada. COVID-19 restrictions delayed the hunting portion of UHP at three universities in the fall of 2022, but all Canadian students will have the opportunity to participate in a guided hunt in the fall of 2023 to complete the program.

Surveys of participants revealed excellent success for the program, with 92 percent of students indicating they plan to continue hunting, according to Bushaw. Additionally, students rated Delta’s UHP a 4.8 on a scale of 1 to 5.

“This program is amazing and does a great job of introducing people to hunting,” said Aida Bagheri Hamaneh, a Virginia Tech UHP student participant. “It makes duck hunting seem so much more accessible and achievable for someone like me who He has no hunting background or social connections to duck hunters.”

Delta’s comprehensive UHP takes participants through hunter safety, shooting skills, a guided hunt, field bird preparation and a post-hunt meal.

“I have enjoyed every second of the program, and have really enjoyed the waterfowl so much that I have decided to focus on it while I continue my college career,” said Rylee Abbott, a wildlife student at the University of Tennessee. Martin.

Delta projects that UHP’s rapid growth will continue into 2023, with a goal of 100 universities participating during the academic year.

“Interest in Delta’s UHP is high because wildlife faculty in North America have seen a dramatic shift toward students with no hunting history,” said Joel Brice, director of conservation for Delta Waterfowl. “Our UHP program fills an important need for universities to educate future wildlife management professionals about hunting.”

delta waterfowl is The Duck Hunters Organization, a leading conservation group working to raise ducks and secure the future of North American waterfowl hunting. Visit

For more information on Delta’s College Hunt Program, contact Jacob Busha at jbushaw@deltawaterfowl.orgAidan Flores in aflores@deltawaterfowl.orgor Alan Cattrysse in