This Saturday, Sept. 26 is National Hunting and Fishing Day (NHF), and Texas hunters and anglers are encouraged to invite others to join them in their outdoor adventures. Whether it is a child or grandchild, friend, co-worker, neighbor or someone completely new to hunting and fishing, recreating in the outdoors is a great way to bond over a new activity.
Governor Greg Abbott issued a proclamation supporting the special day saying in part “Texas has a rich and storied tradition of hunting and angling, predating even the founding of the state itself. Our sportsmen and women were among the first conservationists to support the establishment of the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD) to conserve fish, wildlife, and their habitats, and through their license fees helped fund state efforts to provide for healthy and sustainable natural resources.”
“Hunting and fishing are deeply embraced and time honored traditions in the culture and heritage of families and communities across Texas,” said Carter Smith, Executive Director of TPWD. “As we celebrate these activities and herald the long-standing contributions of our hunters and anglers to the conservation of our fish and wildlife, I would also encourage all our sportsmen and women to take this opportunity to share their passion with others who may not have had an opportunity to hunt or fish before. 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 Texas outdoors.”
NHF Day was launched by Congress in 1971 to recognize hunters and anglers for their leadership in wildlife and conservation. In 1972, Richard Nixon signed the first presidential proclamation of NHF Day. The fourth Saturday in September every year is observed as NHF Day to celebrate the rich tradition of hunting, target shooting, and fishing.
For those new to hunting and fishing, TPWD offers a variety of resources to help anyone ready to venture into the field or water for the first time.
Those interested in learning about hunting can take an online or in-person hunter education course. This mandatory education course is required for all new hunters and equips them with the necessary tools and information they need to be safe in the field. The course covers a range of topics including the basics about firearm safety, species identification, zones of fire and more. Hunter education certification is required for anyone born on or after Sept. 2, 1971.
TPWD also offers mentored hunting workshops which are designed to introduce new hunters to the experience and educate them on the skills they will need to be successful in the field. TPWD’s How to Get Started Hunting webpage also offers a wealth of information for anyone who wants to learn how to hunt.
Texans who want to learn to fish can also find many resources on the TPWD Learn to Fish webpage including how to how to get started, safety, basic gear assembly, tackle boxes and supplies, bait and lures, how to cast and much more. TPWD’s new outdoor education curriculum is available online and covers everything from basic fishing skills to fly tying.
Not only does hunting and fishing make for an excellent adventure, it can lead to some delicious food on the table at the end of the day. The September issue of Texas Monthly, includes recipes and tales from the field from Austin-area chef Jesse Griffith’s, Carter Smith and others.
Sharing a significant portion of the food they harvest with others is another tradition for Texas hunters. Survey data shows about 97.7% of hunters in Texas share or donate the meat from their trip. On average, 5.8 million people receive game meat annually from hunters and more than half of the beneficiaries are community members living outside the hunter’s household.
“Texas hunters have a keen interest in a sustainable harvest of the game animals they pursue,” said John Silovsky, Wildlife Division Director with TPWD. “Whether that is big game, small game or exotic species, adequate harvest management can result in a surplus of wild meat to be shared with family, friends, neighbors or charitable organizations such as ‘Hunters for the Hungry.’ The motivation to harvest game with many of today’s hunters is not about trophies but the opportunity to provide healthy wild recreationally harvested meat for the table.”
Hunters and anglers also make a huge impact on wildlife conservation. Proceeds from license fees pay for on-the-ground conservation efforts aimed at creating and protecting habitat for native wildlife. Licenses can be purchased at retail locations across the state, online or by phone. For more information, visit the TPWD licenses webpage.
In celebration of NHF Day, hunters and anglers are encouraged to share their outdoors stories on TPWD’s social media pages for a chance to win a $50 Cabela’s gift card. Details about the contest and much more can be found on the TPW Magazine Blog page.