OKLAHOMA CITY – As a House Co-Chair of the Oklahoma Legislative Sportsmen’s Caucus, and as a member of the 48-state National Assembly of Sportsmen’s Caucuses network, I am honored to join like-minded sportsmen-legislators from across the nation in celebrating the 44th National Hunting and Fishing Day on Saturday, September 24.
In celebrating this day, we recognize the time-honored traditions of hunting and angling, as well as the historical and current contributions of the original conservationists – hunters and anglers – in supporting sound, science-based fish and wildlife conservation.
Through purchasing licenses, tags and waterfowl stamps, and by paying excise taxes on firearms, ammunition, archery equipment, fishing tackle, motorboat fuel, and other hunting and fishing equipment, sportsmen and women drive conservation funding in the United States. Collectively, these funding sources constitute the American System of Conservation Funding (System), a completely unique “user pays – public benefits” System. Authorized in 1937, the Pittman-Robertson Act, and later the Dingell-Johnson Act in 1950 and the Wallop-Breaux Amendment in 1984, provide funds from the aforementioned excise tax revenue to the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation. Last year alone, Pittman-Robertson and Dingell-Johnson combined contributed $25,729,133, while hunting and fishing licenses brought an additional $17,923,566 to fund conservation efforts in the state.
All Oklahomans benefit from these monies through improved access to public lands, public shooting facilities, improved water quality, habitat restoration, fish and wildlife research (game and non-game), private and public habitat management, hunter education, angler access area construction, and numerous other Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation projects funded through this System.
I am proud to recognize the contributions of the state’s sportsmen and women to conservation and public access. From the outstanding habitat and hunting opportunities for waterfowl and dove at the Hackberry Flat Wildlife Management Area, to the newly expanded boat ramp on Grand Lake O’ the Cherokees near Grove Oklahoma, which has now launched two Bassmater Classics in the state, Oklahoma’s sportsmen and sportswomen have directly contributed to the abundant fish and wildlife populations we have today, as well as our vibrant outdoor economy.
In addition, I want to thank the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation for their tireless efforts to support hunting, angling, recreational shooting and trapping in our great state.
Today we celebrate the many and varied benefits that hunting and angling provide for the Sooner State. Enjoy this special occasion and the vast opportunities to hunt and fish in Oklahoma. The outdoor traditions of hunting and angling should not be taken for granted, and opportunities to hunt and fish should continue to be abundantly available for future generations.