Saturday marks the return of the annual National Hunting and Fishing Day, which encourages sportsmen and women to promote true conservation efforts. It also serves as a perfect occasion to introduce someone new to hunting, fishing, and/or shooting sports.
It takes place every fourth Saturday in September, conveniently coinciding with the start of fall hunting season. This year, NASCAR legend Dale Earnhardt, Jr., will serve as Honor Chair of the event.
This isn’t a new holiday. The idea was introduced to both chambers of Congress back in the 1970’s. At the insistence of the NSSF, Senator Thomas McIntyre (D-NH) introduced Joint Resolution 117 in June 1971 to authorize the annual holiday on the fourth Saturday of every September. Congressman Bob Sikes (D-FL) introduced a companion House version afterwards.
Congress unanimously passed these key pieces of legislation in early 1972. NHFDay.org’s website says President Richard Nixon signed the first proclamation of National Hunting and Fishing Day on May 2, 1972. The full proclamation reads as follows:
For many years, responsible hunters and fishermen have been in the vanguard of efforts to halt the destruction of our land and waters and protect the natural habitat so vital to our wildlife.
Through a deep personal interest in our wildlife resources, the American hunter and fisherman have paved the way for the growth of modern wildlife management programs. In addition, his purchase of licenses and permits, his payment of excise taxes on hunting and fishing equipment, and his voluntary contributions to a great variety of conservation projects are examples of his concern for wildlife populations and habitat preservation.
His devotion has promoted recreational outlets of tremendous value for our citizens, sportsmen and non-sportsmen alike. Indeed, he has always been in the forefront of today’s environmental movement with his insistence on sound conservation programs.
In recognition of the many and worthwhile contributions of the American hunter and angler, the Congress, by Senate Joint Resolution 117, has requested the President to declare the fourth Saturday of September 1972 as National Hunting and Fishing Day.
Now, Therefore, I, Richard Nixon, President of the United States of America, do hereby designate Saturday, September 23, 1972, as National Hunting and Fishing Day.
I urge all our 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.
In Witness Whereof, I have hereunto set my hand this second day of May, in the year of our Lord nineteen hundred seventy-two, and of the Independence of the United States of America the one hundred ninety-sixth.
I’ll be doing my part to promote conservation this weekend with my participation in an outdoor kids camp down in Virginia Beach, VA to benefit kids of active military members. Will you introduce someone new to fishing, hunting, or shooting sports this weekend?