Florida has abundant outdoor recreational opportunities. The state boasts public access to a wide array of hunting, fishing, boating and wildlife viewing activities. It is the Fishing Capital of the World and has one of the largest wildlife management area systems in the country. You can celebrate National Hunting and Fishing Day Sept. 22 by enjoying all the state has to offer, and make a difference, as well.
“I hope many Florida residents and visitors will participate in one of the many outdoor activities that Florida has to offer in recognition of National Hunting and Fishing Day. Participating in these outdoor activities is not only fun, it also results in supporting conservation efforts,” said Eric Sutton, Executive Director of the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC). “For many of us, someone important in our lives took the time to introduce us to fishing, hunting, boating, hiking or wildlife viewing. This is a great time of year for us to make a difference in conservation by taking the time to introduce someone to the outdoors.”
The FWC encourages fellow conservationists to show appreciation for how they got involved in hunting, fishing, boating, wildlife viewing, birding, hiking, or other outdoor recreational activities. To share a memory from the outdoors, post a picture to social media with #WhoTaughtYou.
In 1972, Congress established the fourth Saturday in September as a special day to honor hunters and anglers for their leadership in conserving America’s fish, wildlife and wild places by continually participating in these outdoor sports and by ensuring that their licenses remain valid. This group is a valuable part of natural resource conservation – and you can be, too.
Thanks to the vision of notable Americans, such as President Theodore Roosevelt, fish and wildlife management in North America is largely entrusted to states and other government entities, with all citizens owning an equal share. Several federal efforts, including the Pittman-Robertson Wildlife Restoration and Dingell-Johnson Sport Fish Restoration acts, laid the foundation for what is referred to as the North American Model of Wildlife Conservation.
“What this means for Florida’s residents and visitors is that we can all make a difference. We can all enjoy the natural resources of our state and we are all responsible for conserving them,” Sutton said.
The hunting, fishing, boating and shooting sports industries pay into the federal Wildlife and Sportfish Restoration program, resulting annually in millions of dollars for each state agency to fund science-based fish and wildlife conservation and boating opportunity improvements. When people purchase firearms, ammunition, fishing gear, archery equipment or motorboat fuel, their dollars ultimately support research, education, access to public lands and water, and conserving a range of fish and wildlife.
“Additionally, when you purchase a Florida hunting or fishing license, you play a major role in this program because the WSFR funding Florida receives depends, in part, on the number of licenses issued,” Sutton said.
Visit GoOutdoorsFlorida.com to purchase or renew your Florida hunting or fishing license.
Over the years, Florida has had many conservation success stories – turkeys, spotted sea trout, white-tailed deer, alligators, manatees, bald eagles, green sea turtles, panther, bass – and while some of these species are protected in Florida, the support of hunters and anglers has been essential to these conservation accomplishments through recreational hunting and fishing license sales, and WSFR funding.
Floridians also support wildlife conservation by purchasing license plates through tax collector’s offices that contribute to the FWC’s research and management efforts with manatees, sea turtles and panthers. There is also a Conserve Wildlife tag. More on the license plates is at BuyaPlate.com. Colorful manatee and sea turtle decals, redesigned annually and available through tax collectors’ offices, also give people a way to help these species. Explore other ways to enhance conservation of the state’s wildlife and habitats at the Fish & Wildlife Foundation of Florida.
Visit MyFWC.com for recreational safety tips and other resources.