Hunters and anglers are among the country's best conservationists, and in their honor Saturday, September 25, is National Hunting and Fishing Day.
With birdwatchers, hikers, mountain bikers, canoeists, backpackers, photographers and other recreationists, lots of Idahoans love wildlife and wild places.
Today 34 million people hunt and fish in the United States. By buying hunting and fishing licenses and paying special taxes on firearms and ammunition, bows and arrows, and rods and reels, hunters and anglers generate $100,000 every 30 minutes.
This annual total, $1.75 billion, pays for the much of the conservation work of fish and wildlife agencies in every state. These public agencies serve the residents of their states by overseeing all fish and wildlife, hunted species such as deer and non-hunted species such as robins, as well as all aquatic and terrestrial habitats.
About 100 years ago, hunters and anglers recognized a responsibility for responsible stewardship of the state's natural and wildlife resources. They had watched expanding civilization and unregulated exploitation nearly wipe out some wildlife populations. Many of today's conservation ideals were born in that era.
In the 1960s, hunters and anglers embraced the era's heightened environmental awareness but were discouraged that many people didn't understand the role that hunters and anglers played - and continue to play - in the conservation movement.
In 1972, with urging from the National Shooting Sports Foundation, Congress unanimously authorized National Hunting and Fishing Day on the fourth Saturday of every September.
On May 2, 1972, President Richard M. Nixon signed the first proclamation of the annual celebration. Today, National Hunting and Fishing Day remains a great promotion for outdoor sports and conservation.