National Hunting and Fishing Day Marks Its 34th Year

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National Hunting and Fishing Day Marks Its 34th Year

National Hunting and Fishing Day is always observed the fourth Saturday in September.

September 24th will be the 34th annual National Hunting and Fishing Day and plans are underway for a nationwide celebration. One of the best ways all of us can create a better public understanding of hunting and fishing is to create a better public awareness of the important role that outdoorsmen and outdoorswomen have played in wildlife conservation and improving our natural resources.

One of the most meaningful ways to celebrate this landmark observance is to help spread our wildlife conservation message to non-outdoorsmen in our community.

NHF Day events around the country provide opportunities for outdoor-oriented people and urbanites alike to learn more about outdoor skills and activities, many offering hands-on events for archery, firearms and muzzleloader shooting, fishing, canoeing, cooking or duck calling. Wildlife art and taxidermy, dog training, hunter and/or wildlife education and outdoor skills enhancement for camping, hiking, bird watching and photography can be found at most events.

Congress and President Nixon established NHF Day to recognize generations of hunters and anglers for the time and money they have donated to wildlife conservation programs--to date totaling over $23 billion and uncounted hours of work on habitat improvement and other projects. In the years since then, NHF Day has celebrated with thousands of special events organized by sportsmen's clubs, conservation groups and state wildlife agencies--together introducing many millions of Americans to hunting and fishing while highlighting their vital role in conservation.

For more information about how you and your children, parents, friends, and neighbors can get involved in this year's National Hunting & Fishing Day celebration, click here to view a list of the available material to help you celebrate this very special day.

What began over 30 years ago as a fledgling promotion has today developed into a full-blown national celebration. Indeed, like the sports it represents, National Hunting & Fishing Day has become a firmly rooted tradition that annually serves to introduce millions of Americans to the outdoor sports.

At thousands of NHF Day events held across the nation each year, the focus is not just on insuring a bright future for the outdoor sports, but also on recognizing the past conservation efforts and achievements of American sportsmen and sportswomen.

Over 100 years ago, hunters and anglers were the earliest and most vocal supporters of conservation and scientific wildlife management. They were the first to recognize that rapid development and the unregulated use of wildlife were seriously threatening the future of many species.

Led by fellow sportsman President Teddy Roosevelt, these early conservationists called for the passage of the first laws to outlaw market hunting and provide funds to state wildlife agencies through sales of hunting and fishing licenses and taxes on sporting equipment. Hunters and anglers today provide more than 75% of the funding for these agencies. During the past century, sportsmen have also worked countless hours to protect and improve millions of acres of vital wildlife habitat--lands also available for the use and enjoyment of everyone.

The heightened environmental awareness that developed in America during the 1960s was embraced by hunters and anglers, but many were discouraged by the lack of awareness of the crucial role they had played--and were continuing to play--in the organized conservation movement. Many felt the time had come for the public to recognize their efforts, which had by then already restored many species to levels of abundance not seen in many areas for well over one hundred years.

The first to put forward the idea for an official day of thanks to sportsmen was Ira Joffe, owner of Joffe's Gun Shop in Upper Darby, Pennsylvania. An ardent outdoors enthusiast, Mr. Joffe's goal was nothing less than a coast-to-coast celebration of the outdoor sports.

In 1970, Joffe's concept was adopted by Pennsylvania Gov. Raymond Shafer, who proclaimed "Outdoor Sportsman's Day" in his state. With the floodgates opened, rising interest carried the idea to the floor of the U.S. Senate, where in June, 1971, Sen. Thomas McIntyre, NH, introduced Joint Resolution 117 asking President Richard M. Nixon to declare the fourth Saturday in September as NHF Day. The following month, Rep. Bob Sikes, FL, introduced an identical resolution to the House.
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