A Start-Up Planning Guide for National Hunting and Fishing Day Celebrations
WONDERS OF WILDLIFE
National Fish & Wildlife Museum and Aquarium
America’s Great Outdoors, All Under One Roof
In 2005, Wonders of Wildlife became the new home and hosting organization of National Hunting and Fishing Day. This unique museum opened in 2001 and quickly emerged as an icon for the North American wildlife conservation model. In fact, it is the only hunting- and fishing-focused facility that’s an affiliate of the Smithsonian Institution and accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums.
Since 1971, National Hunting and Fishing Day, founded and fostered by the National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF), has been called the most effective grass-roots campaign ever undertaken to promote hunting, angling and the conservation benefits they provide for all Americans who appreciate wildlife and wild places.
NSSF Past President Doug Painter, who serves on the Wonders of Wildlife Board of Directors, along with other directors from a wide range of outdoor interests, organizations and agencies, recognized the potential for uniting the annual commemoration with the world-class facility. In 2005, Painter told the press, "Wonders of Wildlife is an important leader in conservation education. It’s a place that makes sportsmen and -women deservedly proud of their contributions to the great outdoors and overall quality of life that we enjoy in our country."
And with that, National Hunting and Fishing Day had a new home within an organization similarly dedicated to the future of wildlife, wild places and outdoor traditions.
Wonders of Wildlife, Home of National Hunting and Fishing Day, 500 West Sunshine St., Springfield, MO 65807
About the Start-Up Planning Guide
It is easy to get your community involved in and excited about National Hunting and Fishing (NHF) Day and what it represents. Our Planning Guide provides you with the basic information needed to help you organize your own fun and successful NHF Day celebration. We’ve also included some helpful hints and activity ideas to help get ou started.
This guide will assist you in many ways, but doesn’t necessarily include every detail if planning your own event. Take advantage of the sections that work for you and our event.
You can also order and download NHF Day promotional materials to use for your event on our Web site at www.nhfday.org under the Events tab.
And, don’t forget to take advantage of the free publicity by registering your event on the nhfday.org Web site. We will be directing media to the events section and are dedicated to promoting these registered events. You will also receive email updates and support from us along the way.
On behalf of everyone on the Wonders of Wildlife staff involved in National Hunting and Fishing Day, we would like to express our sincere appreciation and thanks to all the conservation organizations, sportsmen’s groups, state agencies, outdoor companies and others who have made NHF Day a success. At Wonders of Wildlife, we only assist with the organization of the day. The real work happens thanks to all of you, the many wonderful volunteers who devote countless hours to successfully share this important day with thousands of Americans around the country.
Wonders of Wildlife Staff
Event Planning Guide Contents
What Is National Hunting and Fishing Day?
How a Good Idea Became a Great Tradition
Why Host a NHF Day Event?
Establishing a Planning Team
Event Locations and Types of Events
Tips for a Successful Event
Utilizing Other Resources
Working with Youth
Sample Event Ideas and Activities
Marketing and Publicity
Hunting and Angling Facts
National Hunting and Fishing Day Report Form (please submit)
Additional Information and Educational Opportunities at WOW
Notes For Next Year’s Event
What is National Hunting and Fishing Day?
National Hunting and Fishing Day is celebrated nationwide the fourth Saturday of every September. NHF Day events around the country provide opportunities for people from all walks of life to learn more about outdoor skills and conservation, frequently through hands-on activities related to hunting, shooting, fishing, archery and more. Now in its 37th year, it has become one of the most effective grass-roots campaigns ever developed to promote the traditions of hunting and angling, along with the many conservation benefits they provide for all Americans. National, state and local organizations host hunting- and fishing-related public events in various locations — from shooting ranges and wildlife refuges to fish hatcheries and suburban frog ponds. These events help nurture understanding and appreciation of conservation among diverse segments of our communities.
How A Good Idea Became A Great Tradition
More than 100 years ago, hunters and anglers stepped up to become the most vocal supporters of conservation and scientific wildlife management. They were among the first to recognize that rapid development and unregulated uses of wildlife threatened the future of many species and their habitats.
Led by fellow sportsman President Theodore Roosevelt, early conservationists called for the first laws restricting the commercial slaughter of wildlife. They urged sustainable use of fish and game, created hunting and fishing licenses, and lobbied for taxes on sporting equipment to provide funds for conservation programs. These actions formed the basis of the North American wildlife conservation model, a science-based, user-pay system that would foster the most dramatic conservation successes of all time. Populations of white-tailed deer, elk, antelope, wild turkey, wood ducks and many other species began to recover from decades of unregulated exploitation.
During the next half-century, in addition to the funds they contributed for conservation and their diligent watch over the returning health of America’s outdoors, hunters and anglers worked countless hours to protect and improve millions of acres of vital habitat — lands and waters for the use and enjoyment of all citizens.
In the 1960s, hunters and anglers embraced the era’s heightened environmental awareness, but were discouraged that many people didn’t understand the crucial role that sportsmen had played in the conservation movement. The first to suggest an official day of thanks to sportsmen was Ira Joffe, owner of Joffe's Gun Shop in Upper Darby, Penn. In 1970, Pennsylvania Gov. Raymond Shafer adopted Joffe’s idea and created "Outdoor Sportsman’s Day" in the state.
With determined prompting from the National Shooting Sports Foundation, the concept soon emerged on the floor of the U.S. Senate. In June 1971, Sen. Thomas McIntyre (N.H.) introduced Joint Resolution 117 authorizing National Hunting and Fishing Day on the fourth Saturday of every September. Rep. Bob Sikes (Fla.) introduced an identical measure in the House. In early 1972, Congress unanimously passed both bills.
On May 2, 1972, President Nixon 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."
By late summer, all 50 governors and more than 600 mayors had joined in by proclaiming state and local versions of National Hunting and Fishing Day.
The response was dramatic.
National, regional, state and local organizations staged some 3,000 "open house" hunting- and fishing-related events everywhere from shooting ranges to suburban frog ponds, providing an estimated four million Americans with a chance to experience, understand and appreciate traditional outdoor sports.
Over the years, National Hunting and Fishing Day boasted many more public relations successes, assisted by celebrities who have volunteered to help spotlight the conservation accomplishments of sportsmen and -women. Honorary chairs have included George Bush, Tom Seaver, Hank Williams Jr., Arnold Palmer, Terry Bradshaw, George Brett, Robert Urich, Ward Burton, Travis Tritt, Tracy Byrd, Jeff Foxworthy, Michael Waddell and many other sports and entertainment figures.
Why Host a National Hunting and Fishing Day Event?
Customers and conservationists.
The future of hunting, fishing — perhaps even the future of your business — depends on both. Help us ensure outdoor lifestyles for tomorrow. Get involved today in National Hunting and Fishing Day.
As people who cherish our wildlife and wild places, it is more important now than ever that we work together to nurture a conservation ethic among members of our communities and build better public understanding of the role that outdoorsmen and outdoorswomen have played in stewarding our natural resources.
Hosting or participating in a National Hunting and Fishing Day event can communicate that message and introduce newcomers to fulfilling outdoor activities. In the process, your organization, program or company gains benefits and opportunities, as:
- The NHF Day message can be communicated to diverse community audiences.
- NHF Day event’s are unique and interesting way to increase traffic through your doors.
- You can generate positive media exposure. Events are a wonderful way to gain publicity for your organization or company.
- NHF Day event’s are a great way to develop partnerships with other organizations or businesses.
- You can make a significant contribution toward furthering citizen engagement in the outdoors and conservation.
NHF Day is not meant to compete with other organized events. Our goal is to increase awareness and understanding of this important celebration and its message and to introduce newcomers and youth to the outdoors. This can be achieved in numerous ways. You can develop a NHF Day celebration alone, specific to your region and the audience you want to reach, or develop an event within another established event. In other words, take an event you already have planned and incorporate the NHF Day message and materials.
As you begin developing your event, ask these questions:
- Why do we want to teach people outdoor skills?
- Who are the people we want to reach? How do we get them interested in attending?
- What types of activities or seminars do we want to offer?
- What is unique about our state and its natural features that we can incorporate?
- What types of outdoor recreation are most popular in our state? What types are not so well known?
- What businesses, organizations and agencies would be interested in this type of event and what are their areas of expertise?
Use this information to help with your event planning.
April or sooner
- Look through the entire National Hunting & Fishing Day Planning Guide.
- Select an event coordinator to oversee entire planning process.
- Establish an event planning team. Decide how frequently team should meet.
- Assign roles and responsibilities to team members. Ensure they have a clear understanding of what their jobs involve. Establish goals with time tables for each team member.
- Establish the goals and objectives of the event.
- Determine event specifics. Choose event location, call to reserve and determine possible need for any special permits or insurance.
- For outdoor locations, in case of inclement weather, identify back-up plan.
- Committee meets to check on progress.
- Finalize event specifics listed above.
- Identify and contact potential partners, such as local and state conservation groups and other organizations.
- Determine how you will measure success (number of youth attendees, press coverage, etc.)
- Discuss ways to get youth and newcomers to attend.
- Establish a preliminary budget.
- Begin contacting potential sponsors, donors, manufacturers and suppliers.
- Determine what activities and seminars you want to offer. Make sure your attendees will learn something about hunting and/or fishing and conservation, but, most importantly, make sure they have fun doing it.
- Begin contacting and reserving qualified instructors.
- Review ?Tips for Working with the Media to Garner National Hunting and Fishing Day Event Coverage.? Located under Marketing and Publicity section.
- Register your event at: www.nhfday.org; be sure to order your posters and download graphics for banners and other signage.
- Check with local officials concerning licenses and permits needed for signage, tents, fire codes or health restrictions/regulations. Some towns and cities may require a special permit if you are providing food.
- Contact food service providers on availability and pricing.
- If any special services are needed such as bands/DJs, clowns, celebrities, photographers, audiovisual services, call to reserve and negotiate prices.
- Finalize instructors, establish a schedule for them, find out if there are any special requests for their activities or areas.
- If additional help will be needed for activities and seminars or to monitor areas, now is the time to make phone calls and finalize those plans.
- If there will be giveaways or gift bags, make necessary contacts for donations or purchases.
- Review all plans up to this point. Do you need to add or change anything?
- Map out where activities and seminars will be located. Keep safety in mind when determining activity locations.
- Review your budget and adjust as appropriate.
- Finalize suppliers you will use for soft drinks, snacks, etc.
- Review ?Tips for Working with the Media to Garner National Hunting and Fishing Day Event Coverage.? Located under Marketing and Publicity section.
- Decide where you will use your advertising dollars or who to contact for free media coverage.
- If you have not ordered your free materials from www.nhfday.org, now is the time to place your order.
- Think about ways you can stay in touch with your event attendees, e.g. collect names & contact info through a prize drawing or by offering them a chance to sign up to receive more information about your programs.
- Begin the process of obtaining all required permits (signage, health, fire marshal, etc.) Some permits may require six to seven weeks, so allow plenty of time.
- If event is located in an area with other shops or there are neighbors in the vicinity, contact all that might be affected by the event. This is an important courtesy and an opportunity to invite them over.
- Contact your insurance agent to make sure the event is covered or to obtain an additional insurance rider.
- If volunteers or additional staff are needed, begin recruiting and giving them clear information about their roles for the event.
- Begin advertising event through free media outlets.
- Develop and print handouts and direct mail fliers.
- Identify local sign companies for additional signage you might need printed (remember to incorporate sponsor recognition).
- Determine most high-traffic areas for signage.
- Order additional restrooms that might need to be brought in for the event.
- Order any additional trashcans or receptacles that might be needed.
- If giveaways or gift bags are to be provided, ensure items will arrive on time and determine who will be in charge of the items.
- Confirm with all activity or seminar instructors.
Three Weeks Prior –
- Ensure all required permits have been obtained.
- Contact suppliers and confirm all deliveries that are to be made.
- Contact instructors to double-check that they have everything they need.
Two Weeks Prior –
- Make sure all orders have been placed with suppliers.
- Think through entire event from start to finish to ensure all bases are covered.
- Schedule advertising insertion in local papers, radio, etc. to run the week prior to your event.
One Week Prior–
- Clean area.
- Put up signs.
- Send press release.
- Make media follow-up calls for event coverage and final publicity.
- Confirm arrangements for DJs/bands, celebrities, A/V, etc.
- Confirm supply of food, snacks, soft drinks, etc.
- Confirm with volunteers that they know when to be there and what to do.
- Double-check that advertising is running as scheduled and is accurate.
- Make sure a first aid kit is available and emergency numbers are conveniently located.
3 Days Prior –
- Double-check deliveries and inventories.
- Double-check activity locations, schedules and instructors.
1 Day Prior –
- Make reminder calls to media to see when they will be attending the event.
- Coordinate event set-up, walk area, look at the layout with a critical eye and think through the entire event process.
- Make necessary adjustments. (If possible, test out any technology you’re using,such as A/V to ensure it’s operating properly.)
- Put up signs, banners, etc.
- Put out extra trash cans.
During the event –
- Make yourself available, walk event and be prepared to help when needed.
- Be available to talk to media.
- Take photos and make mental notes about what’s working well and what might need improvement.
- Ask attendees what they’re enjoying about the event and what suggestions they might have for next year.
- Be aware that something could go wrong but just do the best you can to adapt and don’t let it get to you.
- Smile and have fun!
Following the Event
- Prepare and distribute a post-event press release with photos.
- Send thank-you notes to all sponsors, suppliers, staff, media and instructors.
- Pay invoices, review budget.
- Follow-up with your attendees if they’ve provided contact info – provide them additional info about other outdoor programs or calendars of outdoor events.
- Meet with planning team to review what worked and what needs improvement.
- Document and file what you did, how you did it, what you plan on doing differently and results to help with planning next year’s event.
- Prepare a report with event results, estimated number of attendees or youth attendees, photos, press clippings, etc. This can be used next year as needed.
- Complete NHF Day questionnaire and send in regular mail or email along with a great photo or two.
Establishing a Planning Team
Your planning team can be a small group of five to 10 people who are willing to work hard, including community leaders, state and federal employees, or local business people and area youth. The planning team or committee determines the structure and type of event, where it will be held, establishes goals and oversees the overall success of the event. After building the overall event plan, the committee can establish subcommittees to share the work and delegate responsibilities. Subcommittees can focus on a variety of event segments, including activities, signage, media relations, publicity, sponsorships, safety, permits, cleanup, restrooms and food.
The most important concern for your National Hunting and Fishing Day event or celebration is to ensure a safe experience for all. As you select your location, develop activities and select instructors for your event, keep safety at the forefront of all your decisions. Look over the entire event area with a critical eye and consider each activity’s possible safety issues that you would need to accommodate. Ensure there is sufficient space for each activity and use appropriate and safe equipment. Also ensure that instructors are certified to teach if required and they incorporate and enforce safety lessons at each activity or seminar. A first aid kit should be available and make sure there is plenty of water on hand.
Some examples of possible safety issues to consider would include open construction sites nearby, busy highway traffic near area, steep embankments and unsafe trees or overhanging tree limbs.
Event Locations and Types
National Hunting and Fishing Day events can be all sizes and formats. There is no one framework you must follow or location you must find. Events can be held at shooting ranges, parks, museums, school grounds, parking lots, inside retail outlets or on someone’s private pasture. Other good locations include fish hatcheries and wildlife refuges.
When selecting your event location, there are several logistical considerations. Make sure you actually visit the event location before finalizing any agreements and look at the overall appearance of the area. During this visit, keep in mind the Americans with Disabilities Act to ensure those with physical challenges can participate in the event. Also ensure your location has the space available for your event size to allow for plenty of hands-on activities, seminars and food service areas and adequate parking. Restroom availability or space for port-a-potties is a priority when selecting your location.
The types of events or celebrations may vary depending on who hosts the event, the location and the overall event goals. It can be a stand-alone event or wrapped up as an event within an event. A good example of an event within an event would be a conservation organization chapter event that incorporates the NHF Day materials and message and encourages others to introduce someone new to hunting, shooting and angling. The event could be enhanced by hands-on activities like the ones listed in this guide. Other event formats include a free fishing day, shooting range event, retail store celebration, outdoor exposition, or educational open house at a refuge or hatchery.
Tips for a Successful Event
The possibilities for NHF Day events are endless. Our most important tip is to let your creativity take over and have fun! Whether you’re hosting a single activity for a small audience or a grand exposition for hundreds, there are many ways to ensure you successfully share the values and enjoyment of hunting and fishing with your attendees.
A few tips to help you along the way:
- Keep it fun. - One of the primary reasons youth drop out of a sport or activity is that it was not fun or did not retain their interest. Provide plenty of engaging activities and information related to hunting and fishing to ensure your attendees have a good time.
- Provide plenty of hands-on activities. - Everyone learns best by ?doing.? The best way to make your event a success is to have a variety of activities appropriate for all ages, all backgrounds, and all skill levels. If it’s a seminar, try to make it interactive as much as possible.
- Organize based on the audience and numbers you expect. - If planning for a smaller event, school groups or a specific audience, you can have all attendees meet first in one location and divide into groups. Groups may then rotate every 30-45 minutes to another activity station. Make sure you allow breaks in your rotations for the instructors. With a large number of attendees, it is best to let them attend ongoing activities freely. You can still schedule special seminars or activities, such as an elk bugling or turkey calling contest at specific times throughout the day.
- Engage partners. - Include local conservation organization chapters, youth groups such as Boy Scouts or 4-H, and state and federal agencies in your event. We can help with ideas on local groups to call and how to reach them. Remember, this is a good opportunity for these agencies and organizations to work with the public and educate them about their programs. Working together can be very mutually beneficial.
- Share your outdoor experiences. - Share your hunting and fishing stories with attendees and let them know why you hunt or fish, what you get from the experience, and the respect you have for wildlife and wild places. Be excited about sharing your experiences, especially with youth.
- Share your knowledge about the importance of National Hunting and Fishing Day. - Find creative ways to communicate the important role hunters and anglers play in conservation and how a good idea became a great tradition.
- Have fun. - If you are having a good time and enjoying the celebration, others will too. Enthusiasm is contagious.
Utilizing Other Resources
Many helpful resources for your event are just a phone call away. State, local and federal agencies, conservation organizations, sportsmen’s groups, manufacturers, retailers and other groups are frequently willing to take part in your event. Also, see if the local school system would want to be involved by helping in some way or if there is a college or university in the area, contact the conservation clubs. College students can assist in many areas from directing parking to event organizing. The most successful NHF Day events utilize other resources. Be sure you call several months in advance, explain your event goals and format, and ask if they could help by hosting an activity, seminar or demonstration to enhance your event. If you have something specific in mind, let them know. Most conservation organizations and state agencies will jump at the opportunity to take part in conservation-related events if possible. It offers good exposure for their programs – often with new and larger audiences – outreach that’s vitally important to their own mission as well as ours. If you need suggestions and support in reaching out to these organizations, the NHF Day coordinator can assist you with contacts or go to the Newcomers tab on NHFDay.org.
Working with Youth
Hands-on experiences and direct contact are most effective when working with youth. When you begin planning your NHF Day event, keep this in mind and make it a requirement that all activities or seminars incorporate something hands-on and/or offer something the youngsters can take home with them from their experience.
Also remember that you’re likely to have a wide age range of youth attending. Try to include a variety of activities or ways to modify activities for various age groups. You want all participants, no matter how old, to have a positive and fun experience.
Some examples of age-appropriate activities would include: *
- allow elementary children to fish and keep the fish they catch or provide them with fishing equipment that they can take home. With shooting activities, present participants with their targets to proudly display at home. Or design basic craft projects with a fish and wildlife theme, which they can make & take home.
- provide middle school children (5th to 8th graders) with activities where they may have some base knowledge or skills already. This age would enjoy a seminar on fish or wildlife identification and practice activities that help them further hone their hunting, shooting and fishing skills (such as a laser target system).
- for teenagers, who often engage in multiple activities that compete for their time, think about the social aspects of activities. Promoting hunting, shooting and fishing through existing social structure such as church, school or clubs may keep teens interested. This age will be more likely to take part in activities where others their own age are involved and they can socialize as they participate.
* Information derived from Factors Related to Hunting and Fishing Participation Among The Nation’s Youth, Phase V: Final Report. Conducted by Responsive Management, Harrisonburg, Virginia, 2003.
Sample Event Ideas and Activities
With a variety of hands-on activities, demonstrations, booths and seminars, your NHF Day celebration will become a popular event that your community anticipates every year. We have compiled some ideas and activities to inspire your own NHF Day celebration. Use the suggestions below to help you start your planning, then modify to fit your own needs or develop new, unique activities. For example, you can turn some of the ideas below into fun competitions or timed events. With a little creativity, you’ll successfully ensure your participants learn something, while enjoying a great time!
BB Gun Range
Hunting Dog Demonstrations
Boat and Water Safety
Black Powder Shooting
Kids’ Scavenger Hunts
Nature Crafts — T-shirt decorating with leaves and plants, making pine-cone bird feeders
How to Read a Fish Finder
Laser Hunting Simulators
Hiking to Hunt or Fish
Cowboy Action Shooting
Using a GPS
Live Animals and Discussions
How to Hunt — geese, quail, turkeys, elk, ducks, pheasants, moose, deer
Flynt Knapping Demonstrations
Historic Topics and Primitive Skills
Water nearby? Let attendees try paddling
a canoe or kayak
Taxidermy Techniques Wilderness Survival
Pre-Event Activity — Kids’ NHF Day Coloring or Art Contest, Design a T-Shirt Contest or
Work with local school systems to get kids involved and excited about NHF Day and the upcoming event. First select a hunting and fishing theme for kids to interpret through art or writing, such as: ?A Day in the Woods or On the Lake? or ?What I Like Best About Hunting or Fishing.? For kindergarten or first graders provide a picture for them to color; for older kids provide the theme and let them use their creative talents. The winning picture or t-shirt design could be posted on your Website, used for event posters and advertising, or displayed at the NHF Day event.
You could also consider producing t-shirts with the winning design and selling them at your event. The designer will be proud to see his or her creation, adults will love the fact that a youth developed the design and proceeds can support your NHF Day event or a local conservation project.
Media Challenge NHF Day Kick-off Event
Invite your media celebrities, the ones who can talk up your event, to participate in a media challenge.
This could be a contest where they compete against each other or on teams in activities like turkey or elk calling, archery or shooting competitions, a casting contest or maybe an obstacle course with a variety of challenges they must complete. Make it a fun event and invite the public to attend. You can hold an awards ceremony, presenting a trophy to the winning team and other prizes such as ?Most Competitive? or ?Craziest Caster? to individual participants. Take plenty of photos for future use. Also, make sure the media participants leave with a goody bag of NHF Day items and info.
Dress for the Hunt
Hunters need to be up and ready to hunt before sunrise. What if you overslept? How fast can you get ready and out the door? For the activity, have two sets of camouflage clothing laid out to include pants, shirt, jacket, hat and boots. For an extra challenge you could include belts, socks and backpacks. This activity can be a competition between two ?hunters? at once or, for more participants, time one person at a time. Use a stopwatch to time participants and keep a log of the times. With each round, you could award small prizes. At the end of the day, post all individual times and award the camo clothing or other hunting apparel to the top two finishers.
Understanding an animal’s preferred habitat is key to successful hunting and fishing. Design an activity to help participants learn where to look for the types of fish and wildlife they want to pursue. Incorporate explanations of why certain habitats are preferred by certain species.
Use toy or real rods and reels and try to cast into small swimming pools or buckets. Assign point values
for various distances and levels of accuracy and award prizes accordingly.
You can make this as easy or difficult as you want. For an easy and quick version make it into a match game. Provide a set of cards with a variety of fish pictures or photographs with another set of cards to include the printed name of the type of fish and have all turned upside down. The participant turns over two cards, if they can match the fish to the correct name they continue, if not, they must turn over two more cards or let the next person have a turn.
Invite an expert to conduct a wilderness survival seminar and demonstrate survival techniques. Allow plenty of time for attendees to ask questions.
Hunting with a Camera
This activity works well at a wildlife refuge or nature center location. Organize a scavenger hunt by providing a list of what to hunt for and photograph. Hunters have until end of event to take photos, get developed (or if using digital, bring back a CD) and return later with their photos to share. Include prizes or giveaways.
How to Read Animal Sign
Provide a lesson on animal signs such as scat and tracks. You can make as a match game or a scavenger hunt, by planting sign around your event location.
Animal Appetites or a Food Chain Game
Develop a fun lesson on predator and prey relationships in the wild.
Fake Fish Fry
Create an easy tossing game. See how many fake fish you can toss into a large frying pan or maybe into a minnow bucket. The fake fish or frying pans could each have point values and depending on points, attendees could receive the same number of raffle tickets or chances for door prizes. Could also use along with a fish identification lesson or fishing activity.
Pack the Pack
This is a variation of the activity ?Dress for the Hunt?, which could also be presented as a camping activity. Have two backpacks along with seven or eight items you would need in your pack to take hunting or fishing. When timing starts, the participants must grab the packs, appropriately pack each item, and put the packs on. Time stops when they click the pack waist buckle closed. The winner in each heat receives a small prize or token, and that person’s name and time get posted. At the end of the day, the two participants with the top times get to take home the packs and items.
Fun Run or Obstacle Course
Prepare the course in advance and remove any safety hazards. You can use spray paint to outline a course if needed. Have several fun course challenges and activities with an adult stationed at each and throughout the course. Make sure going from activity to activity the participants won’t get in the way of each other. Participants can go at their own pace, receiving a timed result at the end of the course. Their goal should be a personal best and no prizes are necessary (though you could consider a small token of recognition or remembrance). Provide participants with a Fun Run form when they begin to check off each activity and record a final time. Depending on your location, there are numerous activities you can incorporate, but consider safety and space limitations.
A sample course could be: casting into a small swimming pool, learn and tie a simple knot, shoot arrows at a 3-D target, hop through a course of hula-hoops, shoot a BB gun, a short fish or animal match game, and run to finish line.
Special Edition Postal Cancellation
Special Postal Cancellation Speak to your local Postmaster about the possibility of arranging a special postal cancellation in honor of National Hunting & Fishing Day. It’s a unique way to further promote and draw attention to NHF Day in your area.
NHF Day Passport Activity
The Passport activity encourages event attendees to participate in educational and informative activities and seminars with some type of reward waiting for them at the end of the day. The sample activity sheet, found at nhfday.org, can be modified to meet your specific event needs. Download your own Passport here.
Items needed: One copy of passport for each youth attendee, stickers or markers to use to mark passport boxes for attendees, outdoor items to give away at the end of the day.
How to use the passport:
- Each youth participant is given a passport when entering the NHF Day event.
- Passport is taken to each seminar or activity attended.
- For each activity that participant attends they get a box on the passport checked off or a sticker placed on the box.
- Provide those that attend a pre-selected number of activities with some type of reward at the end of the day. For example, those attendees that have six of the eight boxes marked off have an opportunity to win door prizes. Local retailers may donate outdoor related items to use in exchange for name recognition at the event.
- Be creative and think of your own unique way to use the passport.
Marketing and Publicity
The event planning timeline provides marketing and publicity suggestions and approximate times you should begin promoting your NHF Day celebration. Also, promotional materials that are available free of charge can be downloaded and ordered on our Web site at www.NHFDay.org.
Tips for Working with the Media to Garner National Hunting and Fishing Day Event Coverage
By establishing a good working relationship with journalists and keeping the media informed, NHFDay events can garner pre-event promotion and post-event coverage. Both are important to the success of the event and to fulfilling the educational purpose of NHFDay.
Identify local, regional and national media. Compiling a media list is the critical first step toward effectively working with the media. Developing a list takes time and effort, but the benefits, coverage of your event, far outweigh the work. Entering all media contact data into a simple spreadsheet in a program like Excel allows for easy list management. Turn to your local telephone book first. List all newspapers, magazines and broadcast stations, including radio and television. Then turn to the Internet. Internet searches can turn up a wide range of publications/stations you may want to contact. Finally, turn to your state or regional outdoor communicators organization and POMA to garner contact information for communicators in your state who specialize in the traditional outdoor sports.
Reach out to the press. Relationship building is the most effective way to increase editorial coverage. Call the folks on your media list and discuss your event. Provide the who, what when, where, and why behind your event. Follow up the call with collateral materials (by e-mail or mail).
Assign a media relations manager. Consider asking one person on your team, a passionate volunteer who is a good communicator, to serve as the media relations person. A single person focused on the task will garner the best results.
Understand deadlines, especially for magazines. Magazines work months in advance. Don’t send a notice about your event in July and expect to see it in print in August. Magazines need press kits in April or May to include the information in an August or September issue. When working with newspapers and broadcasters, initiate contact several months before the event to ensure the ability to garner pre-event, registration coverage. Maintain contact with the media outlets on a regular basis.
Develop a press blueprint. Outline a press schedule that keeps you on track with the media. Include notes from all conversations with interested media members and note specific outlet deadlines.
Don’t forget the Net. NHFD is all about increasing participation in the traditional outdoor sports. To reach youngsters, don’t neglect the medium they utilize the most – the Internet. Talk with youngsters in your area to determine if there are local blogs or Web sites where teens go for information. Contact your local schools to determine if they have Web sites where information can be posted. Consider involving youngsters in promotion. Generation Y aka Echo Boomers rely peer reviews more than any other factor when making decisions to buy or participate. Make NHFDay cool. Get kids involved.
Go grassroots. Many high schools curriculums include a school newspaper program. Aspiring journalists report on events at the school. Get involved with the young reporters through the class instructor to get some coverage at the grass roots level. Talk to the students about hunting and fishing issues and how NHFDay and hunting and fishing are positive, life-building activities for youngsters. Invite the student reporters to come and cover the event.
Think journalistically. Every event coordinator would like to see a three-page spread or 30-minute show focused wholly their event in every publication and on every broadcast station. That’s unrealistic. Most outdoor media outlets provide, how-to, where-to, when-to or product-related stories to their readers and viewers. When you talk to journalists, be prepared to help them generate story ideas. When talking with the local media you have to convince them of the local importance of the program.
Keep salespeak to a minimum. Forget marketing when dealing with the media. Talk issues and trends. Present statistics, offer opinions on issues of concern. These elements help journalists develop story ideas and become quotable content. Become an expert source for the media, not a salesman. If you do, the media will start turning to your form information and quotes.
Be responsive. The media works on strict deadlines, which often provide just a few days of advance notice. Return e-mails and phone calls promptly, or you’ll miss important coverage.
Develop a digital information/press package. CD and/or online press kits are a necessity in the electronic age of communications. The electronic press kit should include press releases on the event, including the history of NHFDay, event personnel with contact information, media contact information, images, logos, line art. Also make the info easy to find. Utilize folders or links for Press Releases, Event Info, Contact Info, High Res Images, Low Res Images, Logos and Line Art. Take the extra time when preparing the CD and you’ll save a lot of time down the road. When the media has what they need urgent, deadline-bases requests are greatly diminished.
Invite media members to participate. Journalists who cover the outdoor beat are usually outdoorsmen themselves. In addition, they are members of the outdoor community. In addition to asking them to cover the event, ask them to get involved in the event planning process. You never know, your local outdoor writer/ broadcaster/photographer might be willing to become the event media relations expert – or at the least a volunteer media consultant.
Make friends with the media. There’s no doubt that friends help friends – intentionally or not. Contacting a person you’re comfortable with rather than someone you don’t know is human nature. So, step outside your office and find ways to interact with the media socially and in the field. Make friends.
Media tips provided by the Professional Outdoor Media Association.
POMA Mission: The Professional Outdoor Media Association is a group of individual communicators and Corporate Partners who believe in, defend, support and promote the heritage of hunting, fishing, shooting and other traditional outdoor sports through writing, photography and other means. By doing so, members hope to educate the general public about these sports and encourage more participation in them. The organization serves the membership by helping members grow professionally, improve their skills, better their working environments and enhance their businesses.
For more information about POMA, visit: www.professionaloutdoormedia.org
Laurie Lee Dovey, Executive Director, 814-254-4719
Posters, temporary tattoos, logos and banner graphics can be downloaded or ordered on www.nhfday.org under Events Resources and Materials Request tabs.
Hunting and Angling Facts
Interesting facts and figures about hunting and angling*
More than 64 million Americans hunt and fish.
Through license sales and more than $7 billion in excise taxes, sportsmen pay a large part of all state fish and wildlife agency budgets.
Hunters and anglers contribute $4.7 million every day, $1.7 billion every year for conservation, benefiting all who appreciate wildlife and wild places.
Hunters and anglers contribute $70 billion annually into the economy.
Hunters and anglers support more jobs nationwide than the number of people employed by Wal-Mart, the country’s largest corporation.
Hunting-related equipment sales saw the highest percentage increase, 8%, of all athletic and sports equipment in 2004, according to the National Sporting Goods Association.
Hunters spend 228 million days hunting on 200 million trips per year.
Recreational anglers spend 558 million days fishing on 437 million trips per year.
The Pittman-Robertson Act (wildlife restoration act):
Funds are derived from an 11 percent federal excise tax on sporting arms, ammunition, and archery equipment, and a 10 percent tax on handguns. These funds support wildlife and habitat conservation programs.
License fees paid by hunters are used for administration of each state's fish and game
The Federal Aid in Sport Fish Restoration Act, commonly referred to as the Dingell Johnson Act, passed on Aug. 9, 1950, was modeled after the Pittman-Robertson Act to create a parallel program for management, conservation, and restoration of fishery resources.
The Sport Fish Restoration program is funded by revenues collected from the manufacturers
of fishing rods, reels, creels, lures, flies and artificial baits, who pay an excise tax on these items to the U.S. Treasury.
* Sources: 1) The American Sportsman, Take a Closer Look, from the Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation; 2) National Shooting Sports Foundation; 3) 2001 National Survey of Fishing, Hunting and Wildlife Associated Recreation, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
National Hunting and Fishing Day Report Form
To help enhance the effectiveness of events around the country, we’d like to know about your NHF Day event. Please complete the form below to mail in or log onto our Website to complete and submit. We deeply appreciate your input and will use it to help others!.
City: __________________________________ State:_________________ Zip:__________________
E-mail Address:____________________________________ WebSite:____________________________________
Number of volunteers involved in your event:_________________________________
Approximate number of attendees:_________________________ Youth:_____________________________
Types of activities offered:_______________________________________________________________________
Did you have a particular game or activity that worked well? If so, would you please include a brief description and let us share with others on our Website and in other event materials?
If responding by mail, send to: Wonders of Wildlife, NHF Day, 500 West Sunshine Street, Springfield, Missouri, 65807
Or, complete and submit on our Website www.nhfday.org , by going to the events tab.
Wonders of Wildlife – home of National Hunting and Fishing Day – also offers many diverse educational opportunities for families and schools.
- WOW reaches out to schools with classroom programs that include live animals, touchable artifacts, and educational activities. Working closely with teachers and administrators, the education staff has designed a wide range of programs that meet national curriculum standards.
- For both Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts, WOW offers many day and overnight programs that give scouts the opportunity to earn badges while learning about wildlife and having a great time.
- Throughout the year, WOW hosts special camps, family overnights, and teen volunteer programs to share more in-depth museum and educational experiences with community members.
- W.O.W. National Outdoor Recreation and Conservation School offers hands-on learning experiences for individuals of all ages, through a unique opportunity for families to share quality time in great outdoor settings. Participants can choose from dozens of outdoor skills courses designed for everyone from beginners to experienced outdoors enthusiasts.
If you would like more information, visit the Wonders of Wildlife Website at www.wondersofwildlife.org
or call 417-890-9453.
Success Stories to Inspire You
We are asking folks who have sponsored NHF Day events in the past to share with us their suggestions and successes. Here are a few interesting anecdotes to inspire your event planning:
Gander Mountain Sportsmen’s Days at Carpenters Brook, Onondaga County Federation of Sportsmen’s Clubs, Syracuse, NY
Nearly 4,000 family members visited the show, which featured more than 30 exhibits. They received many positive comments and indications that their attendees intended to continue pursuing outdoor adventures, including:
A 12-year-old boy named Jay came to Sportsmen’s Days with his grandfather. Jay had taken his hunter safety course, but did not have the opportunity to shoot a gun. At Sportsmen’s Days, Jay visited every one of the over 30 exhibits. At one booth, he tied some buck tail jigs, which he later took fishing with him and caught walleyes. Jay visited the trap shooting demonstration, where he was instructed on shooting a shotgun. After his instruction, he actually hit the clay pigeons. The instructor saw that this child had potential and spent some extra time with him and let him shoot at a few more clay pigeons. In the fall, Jay participated in the youth duck hunt. He shot 3 mallards; one of them had a U.S. Fish and Wildlife leg band with a $100 reward. Jay cashed in that band and used the money to purchase a gun.
Great Outdoor Days at Missouri’s Bois D’Arc Shooting Range
An event we look forward to annually to celebrate NHF Day. Typically hundreds of visitors (mostly scouts and their families) participate in the many hunting- and fishing-related opportunities, visiting learning stations under a big tent. Stations are set up with animals and artifacts to attract the children’s attention and engage them and their parents in sharing some facts about what they’re seeing. Often we’ll give them a quiz to test their knowledge. To our delight and their parents’ surprise, most of the time the kids answer questions correctly, demonstrating an incredible interest in wildlife.
Georgia Department of Natural Resources and National Wild Turkey Federation team up to Celebrate National Hunting and Fishing Day at Paradise Public Fishing Area
The Georgia Department of Natural Resources (DNR) and the National Wild Turkey Federation (NWTF) join together to celebrate National Hunting and Fishing Day. Charles West the Area Manager at Paradise Public Fishing Area and Danny Sparks the President of the Georgia Chapter of the NWTF share the responsibility of organizing the Outdoor Adventure Day and JAKES Day each year at Paradise Public Fishing Area (PFA). They both recognized this as a great opportunity to bring together the interests and expertise of individuals in each of their organizations in order to sponsor an event that will reach so many families.
Other organizations share in the hard work and participate each year. The Georgia Hunters Education Association setup and man the BB gun range. Members teach youth gun safety and marksmanship which is a very popular venue at the event with members working non-stop from start to finish. Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College students from the Forestry and Wildlife Club and professor Dr. Dough Waid are also extremely helpful and show up with students and a canvas tent full of displays. They assist with the archery range, shotgun range, parking cars, the Kids Fishing Event, providing information, and helping NWTF members serve lunch.
Charles commented, ?We couldn’t have done it without all the help and assistance from the National Wild Turkey Federation. They have been relentless with their support and the members of that organization have to be commended. They have shown their dedication and willingness to take an interest in the future of hunting, fishing, and wildlife conservation. We are all very fortunate for this organization and what they are able to accomplish.? I am also grateful for the support I receive from Noel Jackson the assistant manager and staff at Paradise PFA, as well as many other associates in the Fisheries, Game Management, and the Law Enforcement sections within the Wildlife Resources Division. These individuals bring with them a wealth of knowledge and expertise that is unsurpassed.
The last event in 2006 was a big success attracting over 450 kids and 350 adults. The next Outdoor Adventure Day and Jakes Day is scheduled for this September 22, 2007. Planned activities for this day include a kids’ fishing event on two well stocked ponds and an additional pond stocked with bream, bass, and channel catfish open to everyone. Instructional bass fishing excursions by reservation only will be available to kids who want to learn more about bass fishing and advanced fishing techniques. There will be an archery range, BB gun range, Laser Shot hunting simulator, wildlife-related exhibits and a target range with 20 gauge shotguns as well as exhibitors, a search and rescue dog demonstration, a retriever dog demonstration, a wildlife program presented by Steve Scruggs-the ?Snakemaster? and a FREE lunch provided by the National Wild Turkey Federation. Fishing activities will begin at 7:30 a.m., registration begins at 9 a.m., venues open at 10 a.m. and lunch provided by the NWTF will be served at 12 Noon. The day ends with a prize drawing, for a shotgun and many other items, at 2 p.m.
Your Event Planning Notes for Next Year’s Event
Complied by Denise Wagner
Edited by Jennifer Schoonen
Designed by Misty Mitchell & Michael Eaton.
Thanks to the entire Wonders of Wildlife staff.
Special thanks to: National Shooting Sports Foundation, Recreational Boating and Fishing Foundation, Bass Pro Shops, Northern Illinois National Hunting and Fishing Day, National Wild Turkey Federation, Pheasants Forever and National Wildlife Federation for their assistance in developing this guide.
Many Thanks to All Our National Hunting & Fishing Day Sponsors.