AUSTIN – Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD) is asking Texans to invite their friends and family into the outdoors to help celebrate the 50th anniversary of National Hunting and Fishing Day (NHF) on Saturday, Sept. 24.
Hunters and anglers primarily fund the state’s wildlife management programs through the purchase of hunting and fishing licenses and stamps, as well as through taxes paid on hunting and fishing equipment, motorboat fuel, firearms and ammunition. This generates millions of dollars for conservation programs that benefit both game and non-game species statewide.
The best way for Texans to have a great introduction into the outdoors is to accompany a friend or family member on an outing, said TPWD Executive Director Carter Smith
“This year, in honor of National Hunting and Fishing Day, I challenge you to share your passion for the outdoors with someone new by providing an opportunity for them to hunt and/or fish,” said Smith. “Not only will you help make lifelong memories, but you will help pass along one of the greatest gifts we can give future generations, a love of the great outdoors.”
For many years, the proportion of people who hunt and fish in Texas has lagged behind huge increases in the state population. While Texas has experienced a recent pandemic-influenced surge in outdoor recreation, this hasn’t created a significant long-term increase in the total number of people participating in hunting and fishing, which could spell problems for natural resource conservation in the future. Conservation is mostly funded by these participants.
In 2021, TPWD launched the Texas Recruitment, Retention and Reactivation (R3) Strategic Plan on this day to connect more Texans to outdoor recreation and carry forward these time-honored traditions to future generations. Increased participation in fishing, boating, hunting, and shooting sports brings funding for conservation agencies like TPWD to continue supporting efforts such as fish stocking, access and habitat improvements, and mentored hunting programs (to introduce new hunters to the sport in a safe environment).
In addition to conservation, TPWD endeavors to foster lifelong participants in hunting, fishing, boating, and shooting sports, and create a better-informed public with more interest in conserving wild things and wild places in Texas and beyond.
“Whether it be on the hunting field or on the water, sportsmen and women know they are not only enjoying the state’s bounty but are helping to conserve it,” Smith said.
To learn about hunting, take an online or in-person hunter education course. Hunter education certification is required for anyone born on or after Sept. 2, 1971 and equips them with the necessary tools and information they need to be safe in the field: basics about firearm safety, species identification, zones of fire and more.
Texans who want to learn to fish can also find many resources on the TPWD Fishing for Beginners webpage: how to get started, safety, basic gear assembly, tackle boxes and supplies, bait and lures, how to cast and more. Individuals interested in becoming a volunteer fishing instructor can visit the TPWD angler education instructor website. Fishing events around the state are listed on the online event page and no license is required to fish from the shore or dock at a Texas State Park.
Congress launched NHF Day in 1971 to recognize hunters and anglers for their leadership in wildlife and conservation. In 1972, Richard Nixon signed the first presidential proclamation to hold it on the fourth Saturday in September every year to celebrate the rich tradition of hunting, target shooting, and fishing.