Sept. 23, 2020
Randy Zellers Assistant Chief of Communications
LITTLE ROCK – 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 or water this National Hunting and Fishing Day, Sept. 26.
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. First pushed by Congress in 1971, 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.
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 and the size of the state.
During a recorded address at the AGFC’s September meeting, Gov. Asa Hutchinson said, “In 2019 over 600,000 hunters and anglers spent $3.8 million a day which went to support the efforts of the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission. That’s more than $1.4 billion a year going to the state’s economy.”
Chris Colclasure, deputy director of the AGFC, said the dollars contributed by hunters and anglers are used to benefit all species.
“It’s not only the deer, ducks and trout that benefit from this funding, but songbirds, pollinators and nongame species that are in need of conservation as well,” Colclasure said. “Hunters and anglers not only provide the majority of the funding for this conservation work through license and equipment purchases, but they are impactful partners in shaping policy and lobbying for the creation and management of public lands. As such, sportsmen and sportswomen are the lifeblood of many rural Arkansas economies. Cotter, Mountain Home, Hot Springs and Stuttgart are just a few examples of how outdoors recreation fuels local communities.”
Of course, the best way to celebrate National Hunting and Fishing Day is to introduce someone new to these sports and places 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. 26; bring someone along to unplug from the electronics and enjoy the relaxation of a day in the deer stand.
- Catfish stockings are 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.
- The dove season opener has passed, but there are plenty of opportunities to dove hunt at one of the AGFC’s public dove fields until Oct 25. 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.
- 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.
- Take a weekend float on one of the AGFC’s Arkansas Water Trails, and bring along a fishing rod. The cool weather will help keep mosquitoes at bay and makes it easy to grab a paddle and a friend for a quick, comfortable introduction into paddling.
- Plan a family outing to one of the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission’s nature and education centers. They’re open on weekends and will hold special programs for the event. Admission is always free.