National Hunting and Fishing Day (NHFD) is Saturday, Sept. 24, 2016, to recognize the amazing contributions hunters and anglers have made to wildlife conservation over the past 100 years. Gov. Sam Brownback has signed a proclamation officially dedicating Sept. 24 as National Hunting and Fishing Day in Kansas, crediting Kansas hunters and anglers for their positive impact on wildlife conservation and the state’s economy.
The 2016 Honorary Chair is Johnny Morris, founder of Bass Pro Shops, and the theme of this year’s nationwide celebration is “Hunt. Shoot. Fish. Share the pride.” Since the Federal Aid in Wildlife Restoration Act was passed in 1937, hunters have provided more than $7 billion to state wildlife conservation programs through excise taxes on hunting and shooting equipment. Currently, hunters pay more than $371 annually into the federal program, and when you add the nearly $800 million they spend on licenses and permits and another $440 million they donate to conservation organizations each year, it’s evident that hunters fund wildlife conservation programs in the U.S.
On the fishing side, U.S. anglers and boaters have paid nearly $8 billion into the Sport Fish Restoration Program since it was established in 1950. That money is distributed to state agencies for fisheries conservation programs, aquatic resource education, boating access, and the Clean Vessel Act program. Annually, anglers pay nearly $400 million into the federal program, $657 million in license fees and more than $400 million in private donations annual for fisheries conservation programs.
In Kansas, hunters and anglers pump more than $600 million into our state’s economy annually, supporting 9,300 jobs and paying $69 million in state and local taxes.
While the money provided to wildlife and fisheries programs by hunters and anglers is impressive, the wildlife success stories are even more amazing. Species, such as white-tailed deer, pronghorn antelope, wild turkey, and giant Canada geese, that were on the brink of extinction around the turn of the century are now abundant and existing in healthy populations across the country. Today’s state fisheries programs produce a variety of quality angling opportunities that were unthinkable just 50 years ago. And while the focus is usually on game animals and sport fish, the conservation programs implemented benefit far more non-game species.
To learn more about the National Hunting and Fishing Day 2016, go to www.nhfday.org. To learn more about the Wildlife and Sport Fish Restoration program, go to https://wsfrpograms.fws.gov. Contact your local Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism office to see if any NHFD events are planned near you.