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A Personal Perspective on National Hunting and Fishing Day

National Hunting and Fishing Day is this Saturday, Sept. 24.

This is a significant day.

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

I grew up hunting and fishing in rural Nebraska.

My hunting heritage began 53 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 and anglers.

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 and healthy protein was acquired during the 2021 Nebraska firearm deer hunting season on my aunt’s farm 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 research projects, wildlife habitat enhancements, wildlife management practices and to local, state and national economies. Interestingly, many of these contributions have greatly assisted rural landowners, non-game wildlife species, individual ecosystems, the environment as a whole and the protection of species from unregulated exploitation.

In 1972, Richard Nixon signed the first ever Presidential proclamation of National Hunting and Fishing Day. Now on its 50th year, National Hunting and Fishing Day is the largest, most effective grassroots movement ever undertaken to promote outdoor sports and wildlife conservation.

Western meadowlark,, the official Nebraska State Bird, is seen in the grassland acres of Bowwood State 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 and fishing 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 pass along what we know to the folks around us, and especially to 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 some neat hunting-related prizes in drawings including a youth lifetime hunting permit and our grand prize: a camo John Deere XUV59OM crossover utility vehicle from AKRS Equipment! Further details of the challenge can be obtained here.

Participation in activities like hunting and fishing is intensely rewarding and provides rich opportunities to grow human relationships, reconnect with the environment, help landowners, support the economy, supply revenue for conservation and obtain fresh, free-ranging food.

National Hunting and Fishing Day also presents an opportunity to thank the rural landowner who allows you to hunt and fish on their property. This is particularly important in a state Like Nebraska where the land is 97 percent privately owned.

To me, our hunting and fishing heritage remains a key component to who we are as Nebraskans and as Americans.

So hunt, fish, share your passion!

Your blogger’s young grandson, Jackson Edward Wagner of Omaha, NE, enjoys coming along on wild turkey hunts in a blind with his grandfather. 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 Communications and Marketing Specialist 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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