Outdoors with Forda Birds---By John Andreoni
September 26 is a very special day. It’s Johnny Appleseed Day, International Rabbit Day, National Pancake Day, National Prescription Take Back Day, National Better Breakfast Day, National Seat Check Day, Shamu the Whale Day, and the list goes on. Some of these days got their start with the backing of various organizations, political subdivisions, and politicians. Most days are designed to promote agendas with various degrees of importance, and some are just invented for the heck of it. For example, September 27, among other things, is Crush a Can Day, and September 28 is Ask a Stupid Question Day. They both have a purpose, but I’m not so sure what that purpose happens to be or how much merit they have.
September 26 is also National Hunting and Fishing Day. Its origin started as a day of thanks to sportsmen for all they’ve done to promote conservation through license fees, excise taxes, and donations. Ira Joffe, a Pennsylvania gun shop owner, gets credit for the suggestion, and Pennsylvania Gov. Raymond Shafer for additional action by creating “Outdoor Sportsman’s Day in the state. The National Shooting Sports Foundation picked up the torch and bombarded national officials, and soon the idea wound up on the floor of the U.S. Senate as a resolution authorizing National Hunting and Fishing Day on the fourth Saturday of every September. An identical measure was introduced in the House, and in early 1972, Congress unanimously passed both bills. There must have been a lot of merit for the establishment of this day, or the unanimous vote by all senators and representatives would never have happened. Things don’t move that smoothly in Washington politics, especially today.
National Hunting and Fishing Day draws public attention to the millions of hunters and fishermen across the country and recognizes their involvement, either directly or indirectly, in the conservation and management of all fish and wildlife species. It reminds people that not too long ago, fish and wildlife were under heavy pressure because of marketing and lack of restrictions. Sportsmen saw the problems, voiced concerns, organized, and brought about positive change. Sportsmen learned that with proper management, fish and wildlife could be restored. For the most part, they funded the concept and paid a disproportionate share of the cost. Finally, without hunting and fishing and the funds they generate, the nation’s fish and wildlife would revert back to the days when there was little or no control of the resource. Ultimately, sport fishing and hunting would suffer and wind up being relegated to a page in a history book.
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