BlogSeptember 2023

Conservation Celebrated on National Hunting and Fishing Day

Conservation Celebrated on National Hunting and Fishing Day

By Ken Schultz

Sep 05, 2023

National Hunting and Fishing Day was created to celebrate how anglers and hunters contribute to fisheries and wildlife management and conservation programs

The purpose of National Hunting and Fishing Day on September 23, 2023 is to commemorate hunting and fishing traditions and activities, and the contributions to conservation made by hunters and anglers. National Hunting and Fishing Day was established as a federally recognized holiday in 1972 by Presidential proclamation and occurs on the fourth Saturday of every September.



Recognizing contributions is especially relevant now in light of the results of the Conservation Study Report commissioned by the Recreational Fishing and Boating Foundation (which produces this website) and published in April 2023. Key findings of that report are:

• Anglers’ awareness that funds generated from licensing go towards conservation is strong. Four in five anglers overall make this connection, yet awareness that all license fees go towards conservation is more limited, with just over half of anglers aware of this direct linkage.

• Four in five anglers can cite potential benefits and beneficiaries of licensing fees, with wildlife conservation and preservation mentioned most often.

• Many anglers are unaware that all license fees go toward conservation.

• There is less recognition that taxes paid by equipment manufacturers go toward conservation.

• Anglers are unanimous in liking that all fees go towards conservation



While this report focused on anglers, boaters also make contributions. In both cases, this occurs through money spent for state-issued fishing licenses and permits and boat registrations, as well as funds derived from excise taxes paid on fishing tackle and some boating-related items. Those excise taxes, which do not show up on your sales receipt, are paid up front by manufacturers as part of a congressionally legislated Federal Aid in Sport Fish Restoration Program, which is separate from National Hunting and Fishing Day.

Excise tax funds are apportioned annually to all states and may only be used in furtherance of fisheries management, fisheries research programs, habitat improvement projects, angler safety and educational programs, fishing and boating access projects, and the like. As just one example, the boat launch that you may have recently used, and the artificial reef that you then fished, and the species that you caught on that reef, may all have been constructed/supported by that specific excise tax revenue. Check out this excellent graphic representation of how anglers and boaters contribute to conservation and the furtherance of recreational angling through their participation.


Some organizations and state agencies hold free public educational events on National Hunting and Fishing Day, as well as provide demonstrations and participatory activities. To find events near you, check the website of your state wildlife agency and visit the website home of National Hunting and Fishing Day.


Remember that each time you buy a fishing license, register a boat, or purchase some item of fishing tackle, you’re helping to support angling, boating, and conservation - and give yourself a pat on the back.

Ken Schultz
Ken Schultz
Ken Schultz was a longtime staff writer for Field & Stream magazine and is the former Fishing Editor of He’s written and photographed nineteen books on sportfishing topics, plus an annual fishing tips calendar, and his writing has appeared on various websites for more than two decades. His author website is