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For immediate release
September 13, 2007
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National Hunting and Fishing Day Celebrates Unique Conservation System
Congressionally Appointed Commemoration Set for Sept. 22
SPRINGFIELD, Mo. -- National Hunting and Fishing Day -- the 36th annual, Congress-appointed, president-proclaimed celebration of hunters, anglers and conservation -- is set for Sept. 22, 2007.
Honorary chairman Jeff Foxworthy, a host of national sponsors, and a growing list of public celebrations around the country -- including a signature event at Wonders of Wildlife museum in Springfield, Mo., the official home of National Hunting and Fishing Day -- are in place to help communicate the day's core message.
"The fourth Saturday of every September is a formal reminder for Americans who forget that wildlife and wild places exist only because of leadership and funding from hunters and anglers. Together, they keep our country's unique conservation system strong," said Chris Dolnack of the National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF). NSSF founded and fostered the National Hunting and Fishing Day concept in the early 1970s.
Dolnack added, "If you can't volunteer, attend an event or show support in a public way, the best way to honor National Hunting and Fishing Day is to simply take a newcomer hunting or fishing."
It's among America's best ideas ever: assigning fish and wildlife resources to public ownership, and then taxing those who harvest the surplus. In other words, hunters and anglers, through licenses, permits, fees and special excise taxes, pay for the conservation programs that benefit society as a whole.
This system brought our country's once overexploited wildlands gushing back to life. It sustains our fish and wildlife riches even today. And it remains the envy of many, many nations.
At the urging of NSSF, Sen. Thomas McIntyre, N.H., in June 1971 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.
Every U.S. President from Richard M. Nixon to George W. Bush has recognized the day via formal proclamations.
Their message still resonates with the public. Surveys show three of every four Americans support legal hunting and nine in 10 approve of recreational fishing, even though not everyone actually participates in any given year.
New data from the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service show almost 34 million licensed hunters and anglers went afield in 2006, contributing more than $1.2 billion to conservation by purchasing licenses, permits and fees.
Additionally, "Those who bought guns, ammunition, bows, arrows, rods, reels and other equipment also paid special excise earmarked for conservation. In 2007 alone, over $615 million in such taxes were apportioned to state conservation agencies. Over the years, this system has generated more than $10 billion for fish, wildlife and habitat programs," said Dolnack.
Celebrities traditionally lend their names to the National Hunting and Fishing Day cause by serving as honorary chairs. Comedian Jeff Foxworthy holds this distinction for 2007, appearing on posters and public service announcements distributed nationally. Foxworthy's Web site (www.jefffoxworthy.com) also includes a link to the National Hunting and Fishing Day site (www.nhfday.org).
Previous honorary chairs have included Hank Williams Jr., Tom Seaver, Arnold Palmer, Terry Bradshaw, George Brett, Robert Urich, Ward Burton, Louise Mandrell, Travis Tritt, Wade Boggs, Tracy Byrd and many other sports and entertainment personalities.
Celebrating America's conservation system is a daily occurrence at Wonders of Wildlife, the only hunting- and fishing-focused facility that's both affiliated with the Smithsonian Institution and accredited by the American Zoo and Aquarium Association.
National Hunting and Fishing Day 2007 sponsors include Wonders of Wildlife, NSSF, Realtree, Baron Technology, National Wild Turkey Federation, Smith & Wesson, Bass Pro Shops, Recreational Boating and Fishing Foundation, GunBroker.com, Field & Stream and Outdoor Life, Woolrich, The Sportsman Channel, Cabela's and Outdoor Channel. A host of partners also lend support.
For more information, including a detailed history of National Hunting and Fishing Day, as well as a feature article on Foxworthy as a hunter, angler and conservationist, visit www.nhfday.org.
To learn more about the uniqueness and history of the North American model of conservation, click here.