Saturday is National Hunt and Fish Day, an annual recognition day created by Congress in 1971.
Its purpose is to celebrate the rich traditions of hunting, target shooting and fishing across the country and to recognize the financial and leadership contributions that hunters and fishermen have made and continue to make to the conservation of the wildlife.
Much of their financial contributions to conservation efforts are made through self-imposed excise taxes on equipment used in hunting, fishing and recreational shooting activities as well as through fees that hunters and fishermen pay for licenses and permits.
The money from these excise taxes is managed by the US Fish Wildlife Service (FWS) and redistributed to state fishing and wildlife agencies through the Wildlife Restoration and Sport Fishing Program licensed by the Pittman-Robertson Act (1937) and Dingell-Johnson Act (1950).
In the years since these laws came into effect, Nevada has received nearly $ 394 million for wildlife conservation and management programs.
Nationally, the Wildlife and Sport Fishing Restoration Program has generated more than $ 24 billion in credits to fishing and wildlife agencies in the States, Commonwealths of Puerto Rico, the Mariana Islands of North, the District of Columbia and the territories of Guam, the United States Virgin Islands and American Samoa, according to the FWS.
Then there are the fees that hunters and fishermen pay for licenses and tags or permits. In its 2018 report, âHunting in America: An Economic Force for Conservation,â Southwick Associates noted that 11.5 million hunters nationwide spent $ 256 million on licenses, tags and permits in 2016 alone. Southwick Associates reported that fishermen spent $ 2.358 billion on licenses, tags, permits and special licenses in the same year.
License dollars, combined with those generated by the Wildlife Restoration and Sport Fishing program, provide the bulk of funding for state-level wildlife management and conservation.
Hunters and fishers also contribute to conservation through their work with non-governmental conservation organizations such as Ducks Unlimited, Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation, National Wild Turkey Federation and Trout Unlimited nationwide, and the Bighorn Desert Brotherhood. and Nevada Bighorn here in Silver State.
These groups fundraise for conservation projects on the ground, in many cases adding equity capital to make sure their money goes as far as possible.
Since its founding in 1937, Ducks Unlimited and its members have conserved 15,195,921 acres of habitat in the United States, Canada and Mexico, and influenced conservation actions on an additional 191 million acres.
Over its 36 years, the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation has conserved over 8 million acres of wildlife habitat and the National Wild Turkey Federation 17 million.
Here in Nevada, the Bighorn Desert Brotherhood and Nevada Bighorns Unlimited have raised and contributed millions of dollars that have funded local conservation efforts, wildlife management activities and the construction of aquatic amenities for wildlife that benefit to several species. Members of these organizations also invest their time and labor.
Together, these organizations have helped restore the bighorn sheep of Nevada to much of their historic range and increase their numbers from about 2,500 in the mid-1960s to over 12,000 today.
âNational Hunt and Fish Day is a day to recognize athletes for their dedication to conservation,â said Johnny Morris, one of America’s most recognized environmentalists and founder of Bass Pro Shops, in A press release. âWithout their efforts, so many wild animals and special places that we love today would not exist. Today and every day, we salute them.
One way to celebrate is to bring someone who has never been there before. You can do this on Saturday as the youth hunting seasons begin for California and Gambel quail, Chukar, Hungarian partridge and rabbits. It is also the day of the opening of the waterfowl seasons in the northeast zone.
Freelance writer Doug Nielsen is a conservation educator for the Nevada Department of Wildlife. His column “In the Outdoors” is not affiliated with or endorsed by NDOW. All the opinions he expresses in his column are his. Find him on Facebook at @dougwritesoutdoors. He can be reached at [email protected]