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News Articles

27
Outdoor view: National Hunting and Fishing Weekend is here
By Curt Garfield
Saturday, September 25, 2004

Ever wonder what goes on behind the fence at your local Rod and Gun Club? This weekend is the time to find out.

National Hunting & Fishing Day (NHF) marks its 33rd year as a nationwide celebration this weekend. NHF Day commemorates the conservation and economic contributions of hunters, anglers, target shooters, not to mention anglers and boaters.

It also provides a great opportunity for outdoors enthusiasts to "Step Outside" and participate in various outdoor activities as the guest of a club member.

"There are 48 million men and women who would accept an invitation to try target shooting and other outdoor activities. NHF Day is the perfect opportunity to extend that invitation to a friend or family member," explained Cynthia Dalena, national coordinator of Step Outside.

According to the National Sporting Goods Association, over 18.5 million men, women and children actively hunt and 51.2 million actively fish in the United States. These hunters and anglers represent big business in terms of dollars. The economic importance of hunting in America generated $67 billion, while anglers generated $116 billion last year.

To help celebrate NHF Day, many organizations around the country arrange special opportunities for non-outdoorsmen and women, of all ages and levels of experience. Clubs which aren't yet participating should consider doing so, and get the kids involved as well.

Check your area for hands-on events featuring archery, firearms and muzzleloader shooting, fishing, canoeing, cooking or duck calling. There is no better time to join friends and family and introduce somebody new to some of America's favorite pastimes.

NHF Day helps others to have a better understanding of outdoor sports and also recognizes the past conservation efforts and achievements of American sportsmen and sportswomen. Your local outdoor store is a good place to find information.

Step Outside is a program of the National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF), which encourages outdoor enthusiasts to introduce friends, family and other acquaintances to the fun and excitement of target shooting, archery, hunting, fishing and boating.

Vote your sport

Five weeks remain before the nation goes to the polls and both President George W. Bush and Senator John Kerry are counting on the outdoor and environmental communities to deliver a substantial block of votes.

In a new television commercial, Hunting and Shooting Sports Heritage Fund president Doug Painter stresses the importance of sportsmen taking the time to evaluate political candidates' positions on hunting and firearms rights and conservation issues.

Painter asks sportsmen to "Vote Your Sport" in federal, state and local elections.

"When it comes to the future of our sports, our hunting partners in Washington D.C., can make all the difference. It's your freedoms that are at stake," says Painter in the commercial.

The commercials will air until Election Day, Nov. 2 on cable TV stations, including The Outdoor Channel and Outdoor Life Network.

The Vote Your Sport campaign also includes print and radio advertisements, direct mail initiatives and more than 2 million pocket fact cards designed to reach consumers through distribution at shooting ranges and firearms retailers.

A Web site, VoteYourSport.com, urges hunters and shooters to become registered and more informed voters.

"Data show that 85 percent of hunters are registered to vote and 74 percent voted in the 2000 elections," said Painter. "Those are much-higher levels of participation than you'll see in most subsets of American society.

"Still, the remaining 15 percent who are not registered represent a force of more than two million votes. Add those who are registered but inclined to remain dormant, and now we're talking about nearly four million votes.

"We need all hunters and shooters at the polls this year, casting votes for candidates who are committed to preserving our traditions.

"It's important for hunters and target shooters to encourage their sportsmen friends to vote their sport."


( (Curt Garfield is an Outdoors correspondent for the Daily News.) )

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