Aug. 30, 2017
Randy Zellers Assistant Chief of Communications
Join the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission in its efforts to increase the number of hunters and anglers in The Natural State by pledging to take a newcomer to the woods this National Hunting and Fishing Day, Sept. 23.
National Hunting and Fishing Day is a special day to recognize hunters and anglers for their leadership in conserving America’s wildlife and wild places. Enacted by Congress and signed by President Richard M. Nixon in 1972, this annual celebration has been one of many ways conservation agencies strengthen their partnership with the public in the continued effort to promote wildlife populations and the ethical pursuit of game species for the benefit of all.
The comeback of North America’s wildlife is one of the greatest conservation stories ever told, with many great names associated with it. Teddy Roosevelt, Aldo Leopold and John Muir are known on a national level for their contributions, and others such as Rex Hancock and Trusten Holder are known as some leading conservationists in Arkansas. However, it’s the countless hunters and anglers who have contributed to conservation work who are the true heroes of the story.
Unlike systems in which wildlife is owned by individuals who own the land, the North American Model of Conservation observes that wildlife are a public resource available to all. However, there must be a governing agency to ensure wildlife does not face the catastrophic declines seen at the turn of the 20th century. The funding for those agencies is based on hunting and fishing license sales and on excise taxes placed on hunting, fishing and shooting equipment gathered by the federal government and distributed to states according to the users who purchase those licenses.
Jeff Crow, director of the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission, says that although the agency works to benefit all users of the outdoors, hunters and anglers always will hold a special place in the thoughts and actions of the agency.
“Hunters and anglers are our biggest partners in how we manage wildlife and fisheries in Arkansas,” Crow said. “Not only through their contributions through license sales and federally derived funds, but also as our ‘boots on the ground,’ who manage deer and other wildlife populations through ethical harvest and habitat enhancements on private land.”
Of course, the best way to celebrate National Hunting and Fishing Day is to introduce someone new to these sports we love. Many of Arkansas’s hunting seasons will be open for people to experience what the outdoors has to offer. Here are just a few ideas to get you thinking about ways you can bring someone new into the hunting and fishing community:
- Arkansas’s opening day of archery deer season is Sept. 23; bring someone along to unplug from the electronics and enjoy the relaxation of a day in the deer stand.
- Cooler weather means catfish stockings will be in full swing at Family and Community Program fishing ponds; get some bait and sit on a bank with a buddy waiting on some fresh fillets.
- Dove season opens Sept. 2, and the first segment runs through Oct. 22; Gather up a crew and locate a field for a good hunt with good friends. Many fields that were prepped for opening weekend have been left alone for nearly three weeks after the Labor Day celebration and can be your ticket to some fun.
- Fishing’s always in season, and shad should begin moving shallow as days get shorter in September. Check out the AGFC’s Weekly Fishing Report to find the hot bite.
- Early teal season runs Sept. 15-30; there’s no better Arkansas tradition to expose to newcomers than a day in the blind watching and calling to the skies for waterfowl.
- Arkansas’s squirrel season has been open since May 15, but this is prime time to find a few bushytails feasting on hickory nuts; encourage a friend or family member to take a walk in the woods with purpose, scanning the treetops for squirrels.
- Plan a family outing to one of the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission’s nature centers. They’re open on weekends and will hold special programs for the event. Admission is always free.