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National Hunting and Fishing Day: A Personal Perspective

National Hunting and Fishing Day is this Saturday, Sept. 28.

Our Governor Pete Ricketts, an avid sportsman, has proclaimed Sept. 28 as National Hunting and Fishing Day in Nebraska.

This is a significant day.

No, this is not just another one of those celebratory days, not by a long shot.

This day is deeply personal to me and many others as we are devoted hunters, anglers, trappers and landowners.

Your blogger is pheasant hunting the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) grassland acres of a private farming operation in east-central Nebraska. Photo courtesy of Mark Davis/Powell, WY.

We take our roles as stewards of the land and wildlife resources very seriously. In fact, we represent the original conservationists who established the North American Model of Conservation more than a century ago.

A nice, adult white-tailed deer buck taken during a recent firearm deer hunting season on our family farm in southeastern Nebraska. Photo by Seth Wagner/Gretna, NE.

National Hunting and Fishing Day, the fourth Saturday in September each year, has been nationally recognized since 1972 to acknowledge the tremendous contributions made financially and otherwise by us toward wildlife conservation principles, wildlife habitat enhancements, wildlife management practices and to local, state and national economies. Interestingly, many of these contributions have greatly helped non-game wildlife species, individual ecosystems, the environment as a whole and the protection of species from unregulated exploitation.

Western meadowlark,, the official Nebraska State Bird, is seen in the grassland acres of Bowwood Wildlife Management Area in southeast Nebraska. Photo by Greg Wagner/Nebraska Game and Parks Commission.

National Hunting and Fishing Day also is an avenue for us to promote hunting, fishing and trapping as legal, wholesome, memorable outdoor activities to new audiences.

We now need to help others experience a personal, hands-on connection to nature and the cycle of life. We, as licensed sportsmen and women, must engage and share what we know with the folks around us and those who don’t look and act like us. It is vital to the future of fish and wildlife.

A young woman smiles with excitement during a break in a waterfowl hunt along a Platte River wetland in rural Butler County, NE. Photo by Greg Wagner/Nebraska Game and Parks Commission.

A segue for this outcome would be the new online Take ‘Em Hunting challenge.  To enter it, you take a pledge for the introduction of someone new to lifestyle of hunting and receive a pin or certificate for doing so. Next, you upload a photo of your hunting experience with your newcomer on our Game and Parks website and become eligible to win a host of neat hunting-related prizes in drawings. The grand prize is a John Deere Gator UTV. Further details on the challenge can be obtained here. Additionally, Nebraska Cornhusker head football coach, Scott Frost, is promoting the Take ‘Em Hunting challenge.

All in all, we – hunters, anglers and trappers – stand for the wise, sustainable use of game and fish species through our pursuits and we need to include others in the outdoor lifestyles that we passionately enjoy.

So, on this National Hunting and Fishing Day, I want you to consider what President Theodore Roosevelt, under whom the U.S. Forest Service was established, said. He stated: “In a civilized and cultivated country, wild animals only continue to exist at all when preserved by sportsmen.”

Happy National Hunting and Fishing Day!

Here I am ready to lend my fishing expertise to a girl who has never casted a fishing line at a recent community fishing event. Photo by Larry Pape/Nebraska Game and Parks Commission.

About greg wagner

A native of Gretna, NE, a graduate of Gretna High School and Bellevue University, Greg Wagner currently serves as the Public Information Officer and Manager for the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission's Service Center in Omaha. On a weekly basis, Wagner can be heard on a number of radio stations, seen on local television in Omaha, and on social media channels, creatively conveying natural resource conservation messages as well as promoting outdoor activities and destinations in Nebraska. Wagner, whose career at Game and Parks began in 1979, walks, talks, lives, breathes and blogs about Nebraska’s outdoors. He grew up in rural Gretna, building forts in the woods, hunting, fishing, collecting leaves, and generally thriving on constant outdoor activity. One of the primary goals of his blog is to get people, especially young ones, to have fun and spend time outside!

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