Hunters and fishers are the originators and the present-day defenders of the world’s most successful conservation model, a wise-use ethos that best serves both wildlife and people. All together, we are nature activists who continue to fuel the largest and the most dynamic conservation movement in human history. Tragically, however, even that level of influence is not so well known on Main Street.
All of that was in plain view to the creators of the National Day of Conservation (NDC), launched three years ago by Mossy Oak Properties. As the crusade evolves in 2021, Mossy Oak will utilize a “challenge campaign,” powered by social media – #dayofconservation – plus measures of enthusiast television messaging to further mainstream the event.
Those who accept this NDC challenge will spend all or part of Saturday, September 25, 2021 at work on the environment, from super-technical landscape enhancements to inspirational and notably effective smash-and-grab roadway/waterway trash removals.
With National Hunting and Fishing Day also in celebration on September 25, 2021, one of Mossy Oak’s most important conservation partners, the National Wild Turkey Federation (NWTF), recently announced September 19-25 as Conservation Week. NWTF will showcase accomplishments and engage its digital audience with web articles, overviews for each Big Six region, Facebook Lives, infographics, Q&As, Conservation Week-specific gear, film contest results and more.
Why all the trouble? Because communication is one of the pillars of traditional-outdoors conservation.
Pose a question about the Federal Aid in Sport Fish Restoration Act (also-known-as the Dingell-Johnson Act of 1950) to Americans who operate outside of hunt/shoot/fish and you are sure to receive some 220 million quizzical expressions and shoulder shrugs. Ditto for the better-known Federal Aid in Wildlife Restoration Act (the Pittman-Robertson Act of 1937). Worse, millions of recently minted traditional outdoor enthusiasts, including thousands of outdoors insiders, remain unfamiliar with our original and perpetual role in conservation.
Don’t let Federal Aid fool you. Together with many of the exceptional businesses who serve hunt/shoot/fish, these funds are generated strictly by individual traditional outdoor enthusiasts. The collective money from these targeted Tax Acts is enormous, to date more than $23 billion. It is this $1 billion river of cash that annually allows state wildlife agencies to function exponentially beyond the approximately $2.4 billion that sportsmen also provide yearly through the sale of general hunt-fish licenses and special permits.
In this era of increasingly sketchy news casting, please be genuinely terrified that a couple of hundred million voters will respond to these facts in the way that deer count cars at night. The situation would be nothing short of a public-perception nightmare, queued as cascading doomsdays for wildlife, were it not for our category’s thin-green line of amazing traditional-outdoor conservation organizations. Ducks Unlimited, the National Wild Turkey Federation and the Coastal Conservation Association – naming only a few of many of the most superb. These best-of organizations (there are +200 of them active in the U.S.) coalesce voice and project the strength of many, while providing sweat and scale for the most pressing work, as needed, all the way to continental-size conservation projects.
None of these wildlife charities exist without the additional financial and volunteer support of their members, the great majority of whom are hunters and fishermen. In the waterfowl sector alone, the annual number must be $40 million to state and national memberships of all stripes, with a clean $75 million more to the Federal Duck Stamp program from these individual champions of conservation.
This September 25, cap history’s greatest week of conservation by buying everyone in the family a state sportsman licenses with a full round of duck stamps. Join or renew with your favorite conservation organization. Take a kid fishing. Fill up some bags of trash from the areas around your favorite boat launches.
Promote these acts of conservation socially with #dayofconservation, and thank you for another year at the front lines of the North American Model of Wildlife Conservation!