Sports
Texas celebrates National Hunting and Fishing Day with launch of new R3 initiative
By Texas Parks and Wildlife Department
Sep 25, 2021
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Austin, Texas -- For generations, Texas sportsmen and women have understood that fish and wildlife populations and habitats must be managed for present and future generations to appreciate and enjoy. As they take to the hunting field or cast their line into a lake or the Gulf of Mexico, they know they are not only enjoying the state’s bounty but are helping to conserve it. 

In honor of this tradition, Saturday, Sept. 25 is designated as National Hunting and Fishing Day (NHF) and the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD) is launching a new initiative aimed at inviting more Texans into the outdoors. Hunters and anglers primarily fund the state’s wildlife management programs through the purchase of hunting and fishing licenses and stamps, as well as through taxes paid on hunting and fishing equipment, motorboat fuel, firearms and ammunition. This generates millions of dollars for conservation programs that benefit both game and non-game species statewide.

 “This year, in honor of National Hunting and Fishing Day, I challenge you to share your passion for the outdoors with someone new by providing an opportunity for them to hunt and fish,” said Carter Smith, Executive Director of TPWD. “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 outdoors.”

For many years, the proportion of people who hunt and fish in Texas has not kept pace with huge increases in the state population. Except for the recent pandemic-influenced surge in outdoor recreation, there hasn’t been a significant long-term increase in the total number of people participating in hunting and fishing, which could spell problems for natural resource conservation in the future.  Conservation is mostly funded by these participants. 

The new initiative, named the Texas Recruitment, Retention and Reactivation (R3) Strategic Plan, aims to connect more Texans to outdoor recreation and carry forward these time-honored traditions to future generations. Increased participation in fishing, boating, hunting, and shooting sports brings funding so conservation agencies like TPWD can continue supporting efforts such as fish stocking, access and habitat improvements, and mentored hunting programs (which introduce new hunters to the sport in a safe environment).

The benefits go beyond conservation funding. TPWD intends to foster lifelong participants in hunting, fishing, boating, and shooting sports, and create a better-informed public with more interest in conserving wild things and wild places in Texas and beyond.

Those interested in learning about hunting can take an online or in-person hunter education course. Mandatory for all new hunters, the course equips them with the necessary tools and information they need to be safe in the field:  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 to introduce new hunters to the experience and educate them on needed skills. The Hunting for Beginners webpage also offers a wealth of information.

Texans who want to learn to fish can also find many resources on the TPWD Fishing for Beginners webpage:  how to get started, safety, basic gear assembly, tackle boxes and supplies, bait and lures, how to cast and more. TPWD’s new outdoor education curriculum is available online and covers everything from basic fishing skills to fly tying. No license is required to fish at a Texas State Park.

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.