35th anniversary of annual observance to honor hunter, angler contributions

Sept. 23 marks the 35th anniversary of National Hunting and Fishing Day (NHFD), but the contributions of hunters and anglers to outdoor recreation in the U. S. began more than 100 years ago. Those early outdoors men and women were the first supporters of conservation and scientific natural resource management. As a result, today’s hunters and anglers enjoy a rich variety of outdoor recreation opportunities.

In the spring of 1972, the U. S. Congress unanimously passed bills declaring the fourth Saturday in September as National Hunting and Fishing Day. Since then, annual observances have occurred throughout the U.S. to commemorate the contributions hunters and anglers have made. A common theme in these observances is introducing youngsters and novice outdoors men and women to the variety of outdoor recreation pursuits available in the U.S.

In Kansas, events celebrating this day will take place statewide. The Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks (KDWP) will conduct several events, including one at the agency's Operations Office in Pratt on Sept. 30. The event will begin at 8 a.m. with a relay race and will include kids fishing contests from 9 a.m. to noon, archery shooting, and pellet gun shooting. For more information, phone 620-672-5911.

Another event -- the 6th Annual Youth Outdoor Skills Day -- will be held Sept. 16 near Colby. Kids will participate in events such as clay target shooting, game calling demonstrations, archery target shooting, compass and map reading, how to load and fire muzzleloading rifles, and shotgun care and cleaning. For more information and registration instructions contact Matt Bain, Chris Berens, or Benny Young at 785-462-3367 or 785-462-7602.

KDWP, the Corps of Engineers, and the Geary County Fish and Game Association will hold an event Sept. 23 at Milford Reservoir. The day-long event will feature hunting and fishing demonstrations, seminars, local vendors, and hands-on hunting and fishing activities. Contact John Reinke at 785-238-6465 for more information.

Private conservation organizations will conduct events, as well. From 9 a.m. until 2 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 23, the Kansas Wildlife Federation will conduct a NHFD event at the Great Plains Nature Center, 29th and Woodlawn in Wichita. The city of Wichita and KDWP will co-sponsor the event. For more information, phone Steve Sorenson at 316-755-2239.