Connecticut Governor M. Jodi Rell has recognized Saturday, September 26, 2009, as National Hunting and Fishing Day in Connecticut. This special day to celebrate the continuing conservation successes of hunters and anglers is observed on the fourth Saturday of every September. It was initiated by the National Shooting Sports Foundation and formalized by Congress in 1971.
In an official proclamation marking the day Governor Rell said, “Sportsmen have been at the forefront of the conservation movement for over 100 years. They showed their support for conservation by requesting taxes and special fees on hunting and fishing equipment to help pay for wildlife and fish management, habitat restoration, and other conservation programs.”
“Through carefully planned research, management, and habitat protection, we have been able to ensure that the public has an opportunity to enjoy wildlife in Connecticut,” said DEP Commissioner Amey Marrella. “It is important that we recognize the outstanding contributions that hunters and anglers have made and continue to make to this effort.”
Since the Federal Aid in Wildlife Restoration Program, or Pittman-Robertson Act, became law in 1937, and the Federal Aid in Sport Fish Restoration, or Dingell-Johnson Act, became law in 1950, monies collected through sportsmen’s fees and taxes have provided over $23 billion nationally for conservation.
Sportsmen-financed programs have led to the dramatic comeback of many fish and wildlife species and have also been instrumental in the protection and management of wildlife habitat. In Connecticut, approximately 8,000 acres of land have been acquired using Pittman-Robertson (PR) funds. The PR program also supports staff and operations to manage the 88 Wildlife Management Areas (WMAs) comprising some 25,500 acres scattered throughout the state. These WMAs provide opportunities for citizens to view wildlife, hike, fish, and hunt.
“Programs financed by hunters and anglers have been directly responsible for restoring populations of many species, including the wild turkey and striped bass,” added Commissioner Marrella. Sportsmen-funded programs have also supported white-tailed deer and game bird management, enhanced striped bass in Long Island Sound and sea run trout in coastal streams, and established northern pike, trout, and walleye in many of our lakes and streams.
The DEP is calling upon the public to join with sportsmen and conservationists in their efforts to ensure proper management of our natural resources to benefit future generations. Some of the ways that the public can help include purchasing Connecticut Duck Stamps and wildlife license plates or making a donation to the Nonharvested Wildlife Fund or the Endangered Species/Wildlife Income Tax Check-off Fund (see the DEP’s website, www.ct.gov/dep, to learn more about these dedicated funds for wildlife programs). Residents are also encouraged to become involved with local conservation organizations and sportsmen’s clubs and to participate in some of these groups’ activities.
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