As a co-chair of the Idaho Legislative Sportsmen’s Caucus, and as a member of the National Assembly of Sportsmen’s Caucuses network, my fellow co-chairs, Sens. Lee Heider and Michelle Stennett, Rep. Rich Wills and I are proud to join like-minded sportsmen-legislators from across the nation in celebrating the 43rd National Hunting and Fishing Day today.
In celebrating this day, we recognize the time-honored traditions of hunting and angling, as well as the historical and current contributions of the original conservationists — hunters and anglers — in supporting sound, science-based fish and wildlife management. We join Gov. Butch Otter, who has already shown his support for this holiday and our sportsmen and women by issuing a proclamation declaring today as National Hunting and Fishing Day in the state of Idaho.
Through purchasing licenses, tags and duck stamps, and by paying excise taxes on firearms, ammunition, archery equipment, fishing tackle, motorboat fuel, and other hunting and fishing equipment, sportsmen and women drive conservation funding in the United States. Collectively, these funding sources create the American System of Conservation Funding, a unique “user-pays, public-benefits” model.
Authorized in 1937, the Pittman-Robertson Act, and later the Dingell-Johnson Act in 1950 and the Wallop-Breaux Amendment in 1984, provide funds from excise tax revenue to the Idaho Department of Fish and Game. Last year alone, Pittman-Robertson and Dingell-Johnson combined to contribute more than $21 million, while hunting and fishing licenses brought, approximately, an additional $31 million to fund conservation and education efforts. All Idahoans benefit from these monies through improved access to public lands, public shooting facilities, improved water quality, habitat restoration and numerous other Idaho Department of Fish and Game projects funded through this system.
Idaho’s fish and wildlife resources would not be nearly as abundant without our sportsmen and women, nor would our economy be as vibrant. Whether you enjoy casting a fly or spinner for trout in one of our famed rivers, glassing for elk or mule deer along a broken-timbered ridge, or hunting chukars in steep, sagebrush-pocked canyonlands (or in many cases, all of the above), such opportunities are afforded almost entirely due to the benefits sportsmen and women provide through conservation dollars, volunteer hours, and dedication to the continuation of our sporting heritage. Additionally, our economy benefits immensely from the nearly 15,300 Idaho jobs that are supported by our 534,000 hunters and anglers, along with the $1.02 billion that they spend annually in pursuit of their outdoor passions.
The Idaho Legislative Sportsmen’s Caucus recognizes the contributions of sportsmen and women for conservation and the economy, and thanks the Idaho Department of Fish and Game for their tireless efforts promoting hunting, angling, and recreational shooting in our great state.
Whether you yourself are a sportsman or woman, today we celebrate the many and varied benefits that hunting and angling provide for the Gem State. Enjoy this special occasion, and the vast opportunities to hunt and fish in Idaho.
The outdoor traditions of hunting and angling should not be taken for granted, and opportunities to hunt and fish should continue to be abundantly available for future generations. More information on National Hunting and Fishing Day is available at www.nhfday.org/Page/Home.aspx.
Rep. Donna Pence (D-Gooding) is co-chair of the Idaho Legislative Sportsmen’s Caucus.