Story provided by guest correspondant Representative Terry Goodin
Saturday, September 22 is our nation’s 46th annual National Hunting and Fishing Day (NHFD). As co-chair of the Indiana Legislative Sportsmen’s Caucus and as a member of the 48-state National Assembly of Sportsmen’s Caucuses, my fellow Caucus Co-Chairs Representative Sean Eberhart, Senator Dave Niezgodski, Senator Jim Tomes and I are proud to take time to celebrate the time-honored traditions of hunting and angling. We are also pleased to recognize the historical and ongoing contributions of our state’s original conservationists – sportsmen and women.
Indiana hunters and anglers are the primary source of conservation funding for the Hoosier State. 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 Indiana and the United States, through the American System of Conservation Funding, a “user pays public benefits” System. Last year alone, this System contributed $18 million, while hunting and fishing licenses brought an additional $20 million to fund state conservation efforts through the Indiana Department of Natural Resources (DNR). All Hoosiers benefit from these funds through improved access to public lands, public shooting ranges, improved soil and water quality, habitat restoration, fish and wildlife research, private and public habitat management, hunter education, boat access area construction and many other DNR projects funded through this System.
Hunting and angling are also a significant economic driver for our state. Indiana’s 867,000+ sportsmen and women spend over $924 million per year on their outdoor pursuits, supporting roughly 15,000 jobs in the state and contributing over $103 million in state and local taxes.
Hunting produces countless benefits for our state’s conservation funding and economy, therefore it is important that Indiana sportsmen and women invest time and effort to encourage future participation in these time-honored traditions. This effort to increase hunter participation is called recruitment, retention, and reactivation (R3). Over 450 individual R3 programs nationwide have had regional success. These programs, as well as many others, need your support and it’s going to take the involvement of every Indiana hunter, regardless of age, to ensure the future of the outdoor pursuits we celebrate on NHFD. Our hunting and angling heritage should not be taken for granted, and getting the next generation of Indiana’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 www.NHFDay.org or on the Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation website at www.congressionalsportsmen.org/policies/state/national-hunting-and-fishing-day