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National Hunting & Fishing Day this weekend

PHOTOS BY GARRY BRANDENBURG — On this National Hunting and Fishing Day designated for the fourth Saturday of September each year, people have the opportunity to reflect on many past experiences that help make outdoor activities treasured memories. Or you can make things happen right now with family or friends to just get outside, go fishing or sit around an evening campfire far away from cell phones, Facebook and other distractions. Congress passed a bill in 1972 to recognize the unique positive aspects of outdoor sports “urging all citizens to join the outdoor sportsmen in the wise use or our natural resources and in inspiring their proper management for the benefit of future generations.” In today’s photos, the author of this column one year ago took this mule deer buck in the very open prairie lands of South Dakota with his bow. It was a long sneak that resulted in a 27 yard double lung arrow pass through. As for fishing, Bobbi Brandenburg one year ago in Canada outdid herself with many fine walleyes at a fly-in lodge. Shore lunches of fresh walleye were a special treat every day at noon.

NATIONAL HUNTING & FISHING DAY is Sept. 26, the fourth Saturday of the month. As a grassroots effort to promote the outdoor sports and conservation, it had a small start that blossomed into a national recognition day. Across the country, federal, state and local organizations host public events at various locations — from shooting ranges, visits to wildlife refuges or fishing at an area lake. All these social distancing opportunities remain and still fit into the adjustments to current epidemic conditions. Each event or self-made outdoor excursion helps nurture and understanding and appreciation of conservation.

The first to suggest an official day of thanks to sportsmen and women was Ira Joffe, owner of Joffe’s Gun Shop in Upper Darby, Penn. The year was 1970. Governor at that time, Raymond Shafer, adopted Joffe’s idea and created “Outdoor Sportsman’s Day” in Pennsylvania. Later, the idea gained momentum with the National Shooting Sports Foundation as legislation introduced in the U.S. Senate in 1971 followed by identical measure in the U.S. House. It passed unanimously in early 1972. It was signed into law on May 2, 1972 by President Richard Nixon.

The real roots of this legislation and recognition of how outdoor activities of hunting and fishing contribute to mental and physical health goes way back. It actually pre-dates written history when men and women hand painted animal characters on cave walls in Europe. Now fast forward to more than 100 years ago when Theodore Roosevelt championed outdoor activities in a huge way. He helped establish some of the first National Parks, Monuments and other unique wildlife areas. And he asked for and got the first hunting laws to regulate the taking of game animals under fair chase methods. His vision also set the beginnings of national attention on long term conservation plans for habitats and the critters that live there.

Long after Teddy Roosevelt was no longer president, in the year 1937, Congress passed the Federal Aid in Wildlife Restoration Act as named after sponsors Pittman and Robertson. This was where grassroots users of outdoor resources agreed to be taxed at the time of purchase of hunting equipment. Later the Act was amended to add fishing gear sales to the formula. This money is later distributed to the states based on a formula including population and number of hunting and fishing licenses sold.

Here are some trends the prove hunting and fishing are worthy activities. First, did you know 38 million Americans regularly hunt and fish? Second, gear sales to enable hunters and fishers to enjoy their pastimes rates third, after what people spend on golf and exercise equipment. (Hint: You can get a lot of “free” exercise by going hunting or fishing.) Third, teenage girls are the fastest growing demographic of sport shooters. Fourth, Americans buy more than one billion shotshells annually for use at target ranges, upland game bird hunts and sporting clay or trap shoot ranges.

During National Hunting and Fishing Day, one can be proud of how controlled hunting and fishing is good for conservation. The willingness and ethical conduct in the field helps to insure a future for conservation and wildlife management. Outdoors activities are healthy for the mind and body. And hunting and fishing brings people together as friends or family.

PHEASANTS FOREVER’s combined Marshall and Tama County Chapters normally holds a fundraising banquet every fall, usually in November. Well, this has been a difficult year relating to how and when large groups of people can gather. The China virus disrupted just about everything people do or want to do. The board of directors for PF reluctantly decided to not hold a banquet this fall. With that in mind, they are urging members to renew their memberships, and if able, to make a donation in any amount above and beyond the basic annual dues of $35.

To add a little spice to the current situation, any renewed member will automatically be entered into a raffle. The raffle prize will be a shotgun, specifically CZ-12 gauge over/under. The last date to be eligible will be Nov. 21 when membership renewal must have been received. Whomever wins this terrific shotgun will be notified for details of how to take possession of this fine sporting firearm.

BROADWING HAWKS are migrating. Normally just like clockwork, mid September can the time when Mother Nature sets the stage for a huge push of these raptors. This past week a group of avid bird watchers and census takers at Grammer Grove witnessed and counted more than 450 Broadwings high in the air currents over the Iowa River Valley. Looking up at the sky is not a waste of time. It might even get neighbors and friends to wonder what you are doing. Invite them over, let them look through binoculars, and see for themselves the show going on over their heads. Enjoy.

Garry Brandenburg is the retired director of the Marshall County Conservation Board. He is a graduate of Iowa State University with a BS degree in Fish & Wildlife Biology.

Contact him at:

P.O. Box 96

Albion, IA 50005

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