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Event celebrates America's legacy of wildlife conservation

PRATT - The 2003 National Hunting and Fishing Day is Sept. 27 . For three decades, this annual celebration - which was established by Congressional Resolution in 1971 - has honored sportsmen and women for their historic and continuing contributions to wildlife conservation.

Concerned by the decline of wildlife species and habitats throughout the U.S., pioneer conservationists such as Theodore Roosevelt, Ding Darling and Aldo Leopold - all avid hunters - started a movement that would eventually give hunters and anglers the tools to tax themselves and generate the funds to manage wildlife habitat and regulate hunting and fishing effectively.

The efforts of these men and the sportsmen who supported them led to the Duck Stamp Act of 1934, the Federal Aid in Wildlife Restoration Act of 1937, and the Federal Aid in Sportfish Restoration Act of 1950.

Through such efforts, hunters and fishermen have contributed more than $23 billion for conservation programs since 1934, all through self-imposed legislation. Millions of acres of wildlife habitat have been restored or protected from development. In the process, many species have made remarkable comebacks.

At the turn of the century, for example, 500,000 white-tailed deer remained in the U.S. Today, there are more than 12 million. In 1933, only 66 trumpeter swans could be found. Today, there are more than 12,000. By the mid 1930s, pronghorn numbers were below 12,000. Today there are more than 500,000 of these unique animals.

This year, outdoorsmen and women will contribute $1 billion - more than $3 million per day - to continued conservation efforts.
National organizations such as Ducks Unlimited, the Izaak Walton League, the National Shooting Sports Foundation, and the Boy Scouts of America are planning National Hunting and Fishing Day events nationwide. Statewide events will be conducted by the Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks and various private statewide and local conservation groups. Activities may include wood carving demonstrations; fishing, shooting and safety clinics; game-calling contests; decoy carving; wildlife art shows; and dog training seminars.
For information on National Hunting and Fishing Day events in your area, contact the nearest KDWP office or local conservation or shooting organizations. Individuals or organizations interested in sponsoring events can obtain promotional materials online at




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