When I first heard about National Hunting and Fishing Day, I automatically assumed it was some type of marketing tactic like National Taco Day or National Donut Day. Being skeptical, I started to research and what I found was the history of hunting and fishing that led to the declaration of a national day.

The idea of hunting and fishing originated from hunters and anglers who recognized the rapid reproduction and development of species such as deer, turkey, bass and many more. Realizing the impact of those species led to the understanding of how over-population threatened the future of many species, which has a negative impact on the ecosystem as a whole.

“Led by fellow sportsman President Theodore Roosevelt, these early conservationists called for the first laws restricting the commercial slaughter of wildlife. They urged sustainable use of fish and game, created hunting and fishing licenses, and lobbied for taxes on sporting equipment to provide funds for state conservation agencies,” according to the National Hunting and Fishing website. “These actions were the foundation of the North American wildlife conservation model, a science-based, user-pay system that would foster the most dramatic conservation successes of all time. Populations of white-tailed deer, elk, antelope, wild turkey, wood ducks and many other species began to recover from decades of unregulated exploitation.”

On May 2, 1972, President Richard Nixon signed the first proclamation of National Hunting and Fishing Day, writing, “I urge all citizens to join with outdoor sportsmen in the wise use of our natural resources and in ensuring their proper management for the benefit of future generations.”

Later on that same year, all 50 governors and over 600 mayors joined by proclaiming state and local versions of Hunting and Fishing Day.

Governor Roy Cooper issued a proclamation, declaring Sept. 23, 2017 to be “National Hunting and Fishing Day” in North Carolina. This allowed the North Carolina Wildlife Resource Commission to host several free events for the community that highlighted the state’s hunting and fishing heritage and conservation efforts. The activities included archery, fishing, rifle and shotgun ranges, outdoor cooking and more.

This day also has a pledge component where people can commit to taking a person of their choosing hunting or fishing and be entered to win a sweepstake.

National Hunting and Fishing Day is celebrated on the fourth Saturday in September every year.

For more information, visit www.nhfd.org.