Let's Give Them Something to Talk About
Blog by Tammy Sapp
There’s Women’s Equality Day. And National Mammography Day. Even America Recycles Day. What do these diverse celebrations have in common? All were proclaimed with the goal of creating awareness - of women’s suffrage, the need for regular breast examinations and the importance of recycling. As women who are passionate about wildlife, there’s another day we should heed, National Hunting and Fishing Day.
Formalized by Congress in 1972, NHF Day is held the fourth Saturday of every September to promote outdoor sports and conservation. This year, the celebration takes place Sept. 26.
Denise Wagner, NHF Day coordinator for the last four years, said the effort started off as a way to thank sportsmen and serves that purpose to this day.
“Nobody does more for wildlife conservation than hunters, anglers and recreational shooters. Through license fees and the excise taxes they pay on firearms, ammunition, fishing equipment and motorboat fuel, sportsmen and women support wildlife restoration and management. Every 30 minutes sportsmen contribute $100,000. That adds up to $1.75 billion per year.”
You aren’t likely to hear that upbeat report from the pretty people who read the evening news. I don’t know if the reason is it doesn’t fit the “crisis, catastrophe, conflict” model that most newsrooms use or if the people who gather and write the news just don’t like hunting, fishing and sport shooting. Maybe both. Fact is, complaining about the lack of coverage about the good things sportsmen and women do doesn’t solve a thing.
Instead, we need to make a commitment to take it upon ourselves to tell this story at the grassroots level. Be proud of your contribution to conservation. Tell your neighbors, doctors, co-workers, Facebook friends and tweeps. Your passion and knowledge can go a long way in enhancing the image of everyone who totes a bow, firearm or fishing rod afield.
NHF Day is an ideal tool for the job. First, you can brush up on your facts regarding how hunters, anglers and shooters have restored and conserved wildlife populations. Visit the NHF Day Web site at http://www.nhfday.org/ and see the facts section under the “Hunting and Shooting” and “Fishing” tabs. You’ll sound super smart at your next barbecue when you tell your friends that hunters and shooters have paid more than $5 billion in excise taxes since 1939, money that’s been used to restore white-tailed deer, wild turkeys, elk, pronghorn, wood ducks and more.
NHF Day honorary chairman and country music’s rising star Luke Bryan is another great conversation starter. You’ll have people thinking about hunting and fishing every time they hum one of his top 10 hits “All My Friends Say” and “Country Man.” Bryan, a Georgia native, is perfect for the job of growing awareness of what hunters and anglers do for conservation. During an interview he said “I don’t remember learning how to hunt and fish—just like I don’t remember learning how to talk. It was just a natural thing in our family. Part of our lifestyle.”
Denise also recommends that you attend one of the hundreds of events taking place across the country on National Hunting and Fishing Day. Heck, go crazy and invite your friends, too. You can find events at the NHF Day Web site or call your state wildlife/natural resources agency.
Or do your own thing. There are no rules on how to celebrate NHF Day. Michigan’s Becoming an Outdoors Woman coordinator took a group of women out on a pheasant hunt last year. Even if you take out one newcomer for a day of fishing, shooting or hunting and tell them about how these activities create jobs and boost our economy, you’ll be moving the needle.
Feeling ambitious? You can also host an event. Get involved with one of the conservation organizations at this link http://www.nhfday.org/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=51&Itemid=68 to get the tools and guidance you’ll need to throw one heck of a get-together.
Don’t let Sept. 26 be just another day on your calendar. Make a plan now to Hunt. Shoot. Fish. And share the pride.
The growing list of sponsors for National Hunting and Fishing Day includes Wonders of Wildlife, National Shooting Sports Foundation, Bass Pro Shops, The Sportsman Channel, Realtree, GunBroker.com, Hunting Heritage Trust, Cabela’s, Boone and Crockett Club, Smith & Wesson, Field & Stream/Outdoor Life, Woolrich and Yamaha.