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National Hunting and Fishing Day: A Personal Perspective

National Hunting and Fishing Day is this Saturday, Sept. 25.

This is a significant day.

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

I grew up fishing, trapping and hunting in rural Nebraska.

My hunting heritage began 52 years ago this fall as a “quail dog” for my dad and his friend, Jim on our family farm in southeast Nebraska. I am eternally grateful to my dad for taking me hunting! Photo courtesy of Wagner Family Album.

So 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 very seriously. In fact, we represent the original conservationists who established the North American Model of Conservation more than a century ago.

Success was experienced on the opening day of the 2020 Nebraska firearm deer hunting season in rural southeast Nebraska for your blogger. I am thankful for the hunting opportunity and deer harvest! Photo by Greg Wagner/Nebraska Game and Parks Commission.

National Hunting and Fishing Day, the fourth Saturday in September each year, was launched in 1971 by Congress to acknowledge the tremendous contributions made financially and otherwise by us natural resource users 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 landowners, 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 serves an avenue for us to promote hunting, fishing and trapping as legal, wholesome, memorable outdoor activities to new audiences.

The beauty of legal shooting time beginning during the 2020 Nebraska Firearm Deer Hunting Season is captured on a southeast Nebraska farm. Photo by Greg Wagner//Nebraska Game and Parks Commission.

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

New, young hunters take a break during a January Canada goose 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 is the online Take ‘Em Hunting challenge. To enter it, you introduce someone new to lifestyle of hunting. Next, you submit a photo of the hunting adventure with your new hunter and complete an entry form on our Game and Parks website. You then become eligible to win a host of neat hunting-related prizes in drawings. The grand prize is a tricked out, camouflage John Deere crossover UTV from AKRS Equipment. Further details of the challenge can be obtained here.

Participation in activities like hunting, fishing and trapping is intensely rewarding and provides rich opportunities to deepen human relationships, reconnect with the environment, support the economy and supply revenue for conservation.

To me, our hunting, fishing and trapping heritage remains an important component to who we are as Nebraskans and as Americans.

New, young hunters pose with a hunting dog and their harvest of Canada geese on a January hunt along a Platte River wetland in rural Butler County, NE. Photo by Greg Wagner/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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