by Ted Nugent
It is sad to admit that hardly anyone knows what the acronyms SCI, DU, NSSF, NWTF and RMEF stand for or what these organizations do. That’s not your fault but rather the hunting industry’s dismal failure to conduct fundamental public relations. As public relations go, the hunting community couldn’t sell a blanket to a naked man in a blizzard.
The accomplishments of SCI (Safari Club International), DU (Ducks Unlimited), RMEF (Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation) and so many other hunting/conservation organizations are extraordinary. But due to their failure at relating to the public, the average American will never know of their incredible wildlife and environmental conservation accomplishments that are literally envied around the world.
Saturday September 24 is the 39th annual celebration of National Hunting and Fishing Day. President Nixon established this important day back in 1972 as a day to recognize the American sportsman for our Herculean conservation efforts.
If you were unaware of this day, don’t feel bad because the vast majority of American hunters and fishermen are also unaware of it. Of the few who are, they won’t write a letter to their local newspaper or post information about it on an internet blog or celebrate it in any way shape or form.
The national television news media, newspapers, and informational websites will not mention National Hunting & Fishing Day. This is because they, too, are unaware of it. Again, this is the hunting and fishing community’s abject failure of conducting public relations 101.
Across America, numerous local and national hunting and fishing clubs provide at their own expense wonderful education outreach programs for young people where knowledgeable instructors introduce young people to fishing and hunting in a safe, professional environment. There is no coverage of these events by the media. For that matter, our own outdoor writers and periodicals do a pathetic job of covering these events.
Through our licensing fees and various permits, stamps and fees, hunters and fisherman provide the vast majority of the funds for state wildlife departments. These funds are not used exclusively for hunters and fishermen, but are also used to provide hiking trails, upgrade and manage habitat for non-game species, etc. Were it not for the direct dollars provided by hunters and fishermen there would be no state wildlife agencies, and therefor, no value for the glorious success of wildlife management.
Not only do our licenses and habitat stamps provide for the majority of funds for state wildlife agencies, but the Pittman-Robertson Act provides for a special tax on all ammunition, rifles, handguns and archery equipment. Over two billion dollars in federal excise taxes has been collected which is predominately used for wildlife restoration programs. Again, don’t feel bad if you didn’t know this. Neither do many sportsmen.
While virtually everyone knows there is Congressional Black Caucus on Capitol Hill, hardly anyone knows there is a Congressional Sportsmen’s Caucus composed of over 300 congressmen. Their stated mission is to promote and protect the rights hunters and anglers.
The American public rarely, if ever, hears a peep out of them even though there are numerous unscientifically-based game laws and restrictions that need to be rescinded.
The outdoor community has failed at conducting basic marketing and public relations. We have not told the American public that streams are cleaner, public fishing lakes are numerous, and millions of acres of habitat have been purchased by private hunting organizations. This is one of the greatest conservation stories never told.
The American public doesn’t know there are now more deer, elk, turkey, ducks, song birds, birds of prey, doves, black bear than when the Mayflower landed. This fundamental knowledge should be passed on to every kid in grade school. Hands-on, value based conservation is the only conservation that works.
National Hunting & Fishing Day should be a day celebrated every year by all Americans. In order to celebrate something, however, you need to know that it exists. The outdoor community has failed miserably in informing you of this good news story. What a shame.
So join the Nugent family and many others and spread the good word as we celebrate clean air, soil and water, and a proud heritage of healthy, thriving wildlife thanks to the hunters, anglers and trappers of America. Happy National Hunting and Fishing Day America. And Happy hunting season 2011.