SATURDAY marked our nation’s 47th annual National Hunting and Fishing Day. Formalized by Congress in 1971 and signed as an official presidential proclamation by President Richard Nixon in 1972, NHFD is a great opportunity to come together and recognize the historical and ongoing contributions of the original conservationists—hunters and anglers.
As co-chair of the Virginia Legislative Sportsmen’s Caucus and as a member of the 49-state National Assembly of Sportsmen’s Caucuses, my fellow caucus co-chair, Senator Emmett Hanger, and I are proud to take time to celebrate the time-honored traditions of hunting and angling.
We ask our fellow Virginians to join us in recognizing the tremendous dedication that our state’s sportsmen and women bring to the conservation of our natural resources.
Virginia’s hunters and anglers are the primary source of conservation funding for the Old Dominion. Through the purchase of licenses, tags and stamps, and by paying self-imposed excise taxes on firearms, ammunition, archery equipment, fishing tackle, motorboat fuel, and other equipment, hunters and anglers drive conservation funding in Virginia and the United States, through the American System of Conservation Funding (ASCF), a unique “user pays-public benefits” program.
Last year alone, contributions through the ASCF generated $19.38 million, while hunting and fishing licenses brought an additional $44.7 million to fund state conservation efforts through the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries.
All Virginians benefit from these funds through improved access to public lands, public shooting ranges, improved soil and water quality, habitat restoration, fish and wildlife research, habitat management on public and private lands, hunter education, boat access area construction and many other Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries projects funded through this program.
Additionally, through the accomplishments of our Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries, Virginia is proud that elk are being restored in the commonwealth.
Hunting and angling are also a significant economic driver for our state. Virginia’s sportsmen and women spend over $2.38 billion per year on their outdoor pursuits, supporting more than 39,160 jobs in the state and contributing $242 million in state and local taxes.
The Virginia Legislative Sportsmen’s Caucus has supported these goals by advancing policies, including legislation prohibiting the wanton waste of game animals, that protect Virginia’s outdoor traditions.
Hunting and fishing produces countless benefits for our state’s conservation funding and economy. Therefore it is important that Virginia’s sportsmen and women invest time and effort to encourage future participation in these time-honored traditions.
Our hunting and angling heritage should not be taken for granted. Getting the next generation of Virginia’s sportsmen and women involved in the outdoors will help ensure the conservation of our abundant natural resources for the future.
More information on National Hunting and Fishing Day is available at NHFDay.org or on the Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation website at congressionalsportsmen.org/policies/state/national-hunting-and-fishing-day.
Delegate James Edmunds, R-60th District, represents Campbell, Charlotte, Halifax and Prince Edward counties in the Virginia House of Delegates.