The Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation stands tall, shoulder-to-shoulder alongside hunters and anglers nationwide to support National Hunting and Fishing Day, a day set aside to celebrate America’s conservation accomplishments.

Signed into law in 1972, and instituted on the state level that same year in all 50 states, National Hunting and Fishing Day marks its 41st anniversary on Saturday, Sept. 28.

“Our mission is to enhance the future of elk, other wildlife, their habitat and our hunting heritage,” said David Allen, RMEF president and CEO. “We firmly recognize the role outdoorsmen and women have in funding, supporting and embracing land and wildlife conservation. Those efforts further solidify our mantra that ‘Hunting is Conservation.'”

As wildlife numbers dwindled across the country more than 100 years ago, hunters were the force behind a movement to encourage and support conservation and science-based wildlife management. President Theodore Roosevelt, among other hunter-conservationists, called for an end of the commercial taking of species. They also lobbied for the creation of hunting licenses leading to a funding mechanism to assist with growing sustainable wildlife populations.

“The actions taken by Teddy Roosevelt and the fellow sportsmen of his time led to the foundation of the North American Model of Wildlife Conservation which spells out that wildlife belong to us and need to be managed in a way that populations will thrive forever. That model is the only one of its kind and remains the most successful in the world,” added Allen.

In 1937, hunters requested an 11 percent tax on guns, ammunitions, bows and arrows, with the proceeds directed solely toward funding conservation. To date, that tax raised more than $7.2 billion for wildlife conservation, including a record $522.5 million in 2012 alone. Through state licenses and fees, hunters pay $796 million a year for conservation programs. They also add $440 million a year to the effort through donations to conservation organizations like the RMEF.

“We are proud of the more than 6.3 million acres of habitat RMEF protected and enhanced across the country and the hand we had in reintroducing elk back on their native range in six states, but we know there is still much to do. We salute our dedicated volunteers for their efforts in raising funds to ensure the future of elk and elk country nationwide,” added Allen.

Allen urged sportsmen and women to show their support of National Hunting and Fishing Day by honoring actions of the past and by taking our children and grandchildren into the outdoors this weekend and in the future.

Logo courtesy Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation

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