Outdoor Channel Supports 2016 National Hunting and Fishing Day
The annual National Hunting and Fishing Day celebration has been a fixture on the national landscape since the early 1970s; this year's NHF Day celebration – Saturday, Sept. 24 – is sponsored by many great organizations and companies including Outdoor Channel
(Jeff Phillips photo)
In case you haven't noticed, this weekend marks the annual celebration known as National Hunting & Fishing Day (NHF Day) with the 2016 celebration scheduled for Saturday, September 24.
The NHF Day celebration, which can be traced back to an original idea from Ira Joffe, who owned a gun shop in Upper Darby, Penn., finds its beginnings a couple of generations ago when Pennsylvania Gov. Raymond Shafer adopted the idea for a statewide "Outdoor Sportsman's Day" back in 1970.
That helped to get the ball rolling for a nationwide celebration of sportsmen and the role those hunters and anglers play in wildlife conservation efforts, an idea that was championed by the National Shooting Sports Foundation (www.nssf.org).
How much of a role do America's hunters and anglers play in the ongoing wildlife and habitat conservation efforts that take place across the nation?
Quite a significant role according to a news release from NHF Day organizers. In fact, thanks to excise taxes paid on sporting firearms, ammunition and archery equipment, each U.S. state has benefited from the nearly $5.6 billion that has been generated for wildlife conservation efforts since 1939.
NHF Day organizers add that such longtime support " ... deserves to be celebrated and brought to the forefront to show how much sportsmen and women contribute for conservation of our great country."
By June 1971, Washington, D.C. had taken notice of all of this and the need to celebrate the conservation efforts of sportsmen as Sen. Thomas McIntyre, N.H., introduced Joint Resolution 117 on the floor of the U.S. Senate while Rep. Bob Sikes (D-FL) introduced identical legislation in the U.S. House of Representatives.
Unanimously passed by Congress in early 1972, the legislation authorized the creation of National Hunting and Fishing Day on the fourth Saturday of September each year, a celebration that continues uninterrupted to this day.
Finally, on May 2, 1972, President Richard M. Nixon officially signed the first proclamation of the annual NHF Day celebration.
This year, the 2016 version of NHF Day is being chaired by Johnny Morris, the legendary creator of Bass Pro Shops, a lifelong hunter and fisherman and a champion of the U.S. conservation model and the ongoing efforts of sportsmen to conserve wildlife and their vital habitat needs across the nation.
"America’s sportsmen and women are among our nation’s most active conservationists and it’s important we recognize and celebrate everything they do to protect outdoor habitat and ensure thriving populations of wildlife,” said Morris in a NHF Day news release.
“I’m proud to lend my support and raise awareness for hunters and anglers, America’s conservation heroes through National Hunting and Fishing Day."
A longtime leader working to protect wildlife and habitat, Morris has also endeavored to make sure that the outdoors world remains healthy and protected for future generations to enjoy.
If anyone doubts Morris' commitment to conservation causes, all one has to do is note the tremendous monetary donations he makes each year to support such conservation organizations as Ducks Unlimited, the National Wild Turkey Federation, Pheasants Forever, Quail Forever, the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation, the Dallas Safari Club, the International Bowhunting Organization, the Quality Deer Management Association, Trout Unlimited and the International Game Fish Association among others.
Morris also is honoring the unsung heroes of conservation thanks to this year's unveiling of the new Wonders of Wildlife National Museum and Aquarium in Springfield, Mo.
A massive 315,000-square-foot building next to the flagship headquarters store of Bass Pro Shops, the museum will feature a variety of habitat examples, outdoors displays and various wildlife and fish specimens that will hopefully provide inspiration for future generations to enjoy and protect America's great outdoors resources.
“NHF Day is continually looking for folks that have a true passion for the outdoors and is very involved with conservation,” said Misty Mitchell, national coordinator of NHF Day, in a news release.
“Johnny Morris is leading the charge in all facets of conservation. We couldn’t be happier to have him serve as our National Chair.”
For the record, previous NHF Day chairs have included Jim Shockey, Eva Shockey, Craig Morgan, Bill Dance, T. Boone Pickens, Louise Mandrell, Hank Williams Jr., Jeff Foxworthy, Wade Boggs, Arnold Palmer, the USA Olympic Shooting Team, Tony Stewart and others.
In addition to the news of Morris serving as the NHF Day chairman this year, there also is news that Outdoor Channel continues its support of the annual celebration.
"Supporting and promoting conservation in our country is a cornerstone of what we advocate at Outdoor Sportsman Group,” said Outdoor Sportsman Group Networks CEO and President, Jim Liberatore, in a news release.
“I can’t think of any other place I would rather be on September 24 other than in the outdoors celebrating National Hunting and Fishing Day in America.”
Mitchell added that NHF Day is once again glad to have Outdoor Channel's support.
“Outdoor Channel always looks for ways to better the experience for the American angler and one way is through conservation.” said Mitchell, also the director of conservation for Wonders of Wildlife.
“Their continued support of NHF Day and conservation efforts never fails. It is our pleasure to have them sign on once again.”
Sponsors of this year's NHF Day celebration include: Bass Pro Shops, NSSF, NRA, Yamaha, GunBroker, Safari Club International, Izaak Walton League, Keep America Fishing, Outdoor Sportsman Group, Berkley, Shakespeare, Wonders of Wildlife, Smith and Wesson, Realtree, Ducks Unlimited, Cabela's, NWTF and the Congressional Sportsmen's Foundation.
One goal of organizers this year is to generate even more awareness of the conservation efforts of American sportsmen through the use of social media platforms. That's why hunters and anglers will see plenty of the hashtags #1conservationist and #nhfday16 this weekend to help accomplish that mission.
Want to learn more about this weekend's NHF Day and the various ways to celebrate it across the nation? Then visit the Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/nhfday for a wide variety of information including a comprehensive overview of NHF Day, sponsor information and event planning details.
Or consider one of the following ideas:
1. Buy a Hunting or Fishing License: According to NHF Day organizers, by purchasing hunting and fishing licenses, sportsmen help contribute to the generation of $100,000 every half hour that is earmarked for wildlife conservation efforts.
2. Buy a Federal Duck Stamp: Why buy a duck stamp? For starters, if you hunt ducks and geese, you'll need one. For another, they are great and beautiful collectibles. And finally, Federal Duck Stamps are also great conservation revenue producers. How so? Federal officials indicate that some 98 percent of the purchase price " ... goes directly to help acquire and protect wetland habitat and purchase conservation easements for the National Wildlife Refuge System." So if you don't have a duck stamp, go buy one. And if you do, do wildlife a favor and go buy another one.
3. Visit a National Wildlife Refuge or State Park: Why? Because they are enjoyable spots that harbor great natural beauty, wildlife and fish species, hunting and fishing opportunities or just a chance to kick back in the shade, enjoy a nice breeze and enjoy the privilege of going off-the-grid as you unplug from the world. Besides, if you're a hunter or angler, odds are, you helped pay for a good portion of these wild and public places, so go enjoy!
4. Join a Conservation Organization: If you like to hunt or fish, there is undoubtedly an organization like Ducks Unlimited, Pheasants Forever, the National Wild Turkey Federation or Trout Unlimited that you owe a debt of gratitude to for all of their hard work to champion the nation's big game animals, upland game birds, waterfowl and fish. Plus, through the payment of dues and other contributions to conservation organizations, NHF Day organizers say an additional $280 million is generated annually for wildlife and habitat conservation work.
5. Attend a NHF Day Event: From coast-to-coast, there are numerous local, state and national level events that can help someone get out, have some fun and celebrate the amazing heritage and legacy we have in this nation for hunting, fishing and wildlife conservation efforts. For a list of such events and activities, visit the Web site at: http://www.nhfday.org/Page/Events.aspx
6. Take a Kid Hunting and Fishing: Why? Because most likely, someone – a mom, a dad, a grandparent, an aunt or uncle or a family friend – took you hunting or fishing the very first time. Kids are the lifeblood of hunting, fishing and future wildlife conservation efforts across our nation, so why not use this weekend to pass it on?
7. Go Hunting and/or Fishing: Did you know Americans hunt a combined 282 million days per year? An average hunter spends $2,484 every year on the sport? Or that more than 38 million Americans hunt and fish? That each year, hunting contributes more than $38.3 billion to the economy and supports more than 680,000 jobs? And finally, that in recent years, there have been times where hunting overall has brought in more revenue ($38.3 billion) than Google ($37.9 billion) or Goldman Sachs Group ($36.8 billion)? If you're an angler, don't feel left out. Why? Because each year, recreational anglers spend $41.5 billion a year to fish. All of this has a tremendous impact on conservation thanks to license sales and excise taxes on equipment and expenditures going to support most fish and wildlife conservation efforts. So why not celebrate this NHF Day by going out and enjoying a day of hunting and/or fishing?
8. Buy Some New Hunting Gear: According to NHF Day officials, critical conservation funding generated from the expenditures of hunters has helped wildlife biologists and managers restore the white-tailed deer from an estimated 500,000 in 1900 to more than 30 million today. And trust me, there are plenty of other great success stories ranging from the wild turkey to the wood duck to the pronghorn antelope to the Rocky Mountain elk.
9. Buy Some New Fishing Gear: In a similar line of thought, funding generated from anglers' expenditures now helps biologists and managers take care of America’s 3.5 million miles of rivers; 40.8 million acres of lakes; 34,400 square miles of estuaries; 58,000 miles of ocean shoreline; and 277 million acres of wetlands.
10. Watch an Outdoor Channel Hunting or Fishing Program: Forgive me if this is too self serving, but if you can't get out into the outdoors to actually go hunting or fishing this weekend, then why not spend some time watching one of our great television programs? They are designed to entertain and educate hunters and anglers about all of the great and many ways that we have to enjoy the outdoors world as American sportsmen.