We found wildlife recreationists—both hunters and birdwatchers—were 4–5 times more likely than non-recreationists to engage in conservation behaviors, which included a suite of activities such as donating to support local conservation efforts, enhancing wildlife habitat on public lands, advocating for wildlife recreation, and participating in local environmental groups. Moreover, effects were additive; hunter–birdwatchers had the greatest likelihood of engaging in all types of conservation behaviors. On the other hand, engagement in environmental lifestyle behaviors such as recycling, energy conservation, and green purchasing were roughly comparable among all types of wildlife recreationists and non-recreationists. Our findings of elevated rates of conservation behaviors among hunters and birdwatchers despite different demographic attributes and environmental beliefs highlight the similar conservation potential associated with different types of wildlife recreation. Diversified strategies that include programs to encourage both hunting and birdwatching are likely to bring about long-term gains for conservation.
As concerns regarding low levels of public adoption of PEB— and conservation behaviors specifically—escalate, scholars attempting to identify interventions that effectively encourage PEB have uncovered a range of useful strategies including education, marketing, incentives, and other approaches aimed at building enduring commitment and self-efficacy. Our data suggest that the promotion of wildlife-based recreation activities such as birdwatching and hunting could be an additional strategy.