By Bee Frederick, Southeastern States Director, Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation
Hunting and fishing have always been a part of my life. I have many fond memories of sitting in the deer stand with my father, helping to retrieve doves with him, learning how to bait a hook, and trudging off deep into the hardwoods listening for that echoing gobble at first-light. These experiences helped to shape me and provided ample opportunity for teachable moments about conservation as well as life in general. And as the air cools and fall approaches, it is hard to contain my excitement as the months of time afield with family and friends ahead are drawing near.
Fittingly every fourth Saturday in September is National Hunting and Fishing Day. This day was established by Congress in 1972 when they unanimously passed identical joint resolutions designating the fourth Saturday in September for this cause. In early May 1972 then President Nixon also signed the first proclamation of National Hunting and Fishing Day, writing, "I urge all citizens to join with outdoor sportsmen in the wise use of our natural resources and in insuring their proper management for the benefit of future generations."
Saturday, September 23, 2017 is the 45th National Hunting and Fishing Day, and at CSF, we are proud to support and sponsor this day as well as work with our state legislative sportsmen’s caucuses across the country and members of the Governors Sportsmen’s Caucus to promote this special day. For a complete list of governors who have issued proclamation in honor of National Hunting and Fishing Day please visit our website. Many states agencies and individual businesses are also offering free or discounted access for certain opportunities this Saturday the 23rd, and the majority of these opportunities can be found on the official National Hunting and Fishing Day website.
I hope you will join me and thousands of committed conservationists from around the country who have made the pledge to take someone hunting, fishing, or shooting who has never had these experiences in celebration of National Hunting and Fishing Day. We know that license-buyers are inextricably related to conservation funding, and in order to insure necessary and adequate funding levels for science-based wildlife management we must continue to work together to recruit, retain, and reactivate sportsmen and women conservationists all across this country. This is especially important in light of the recently released U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service survey data from 2016 that showed a 20 percent increase in fishing participation but a 16 percent decrease in hunting participation.
Hunting and fishing are not a part of everyone’s life and, as seen, hunting is becoming increasing less a part of the norm. Let’s commit to sharing our passions with others, telling our story in new ways, and promoting the “wise use of our natural resources and in insuring their proper management for the benefit of future generations.”
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- Lack of access to hunting areas (26.03%)
- Lack of a mentor or instructor to take them (24.66%)
- Age limit restrictions on when they can purchase a license (1.37%)
- Lack of time or competing interests (19.18%)
- Technology (social media, phones, computers) (10.96%)
- Perceived negative public or peer-group opinions (17.81%)