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WHEREAS, Virginia has a rich and storied tradition of hunting and angling that dates back further than the Commonwealth itself and carries forward to this day; and
WHEREAS, hunting and angling continue to be an integral component of the cultural fabric of communities throughout the Commonwealth, and offer individuals an opportunity to connect with nature on a personal level while simultaneously providing food security, a sense of self-sufficiency, and both mental and physical health benefits; and
WHEREAS, Virginia sportsmen and sportswomen were among the first conservationists to support the establishment of the Virginia Department of Wildlife Resources to conserve fish, wildlife, and their habitat, and through their license fees, helped fund state efforts to provide for healthy and sustainable natural resources; and
WHEREAS, upon realizing that license fees alone were insufficient to restore and sustain healthy fish and wildlife populations, sportsmen and sportswomen self-imposed excise taxes on firearms and ammunition, fishing tackle, and motorboat fuels to raise additional conservation funds; and
WHEREAS, to this day, the Virginia Department of Wildlife Resources is funded primarily by sportsmen and sportswomen, through this American System of Conservation Funding - a “user pays – public benefits” approach that is widely recognized as the most successful model of fish and wildlife management in the world; and
WHEREAS, last year alone, Virginia’s sportsmen and sportswomen generated more than $62.61 million through this system to support the conservation efforts of the Virginia Department of Wildlife Resources; and
WHEREAS, according to 2017 data from the Bureau of Economic Analysis, on the national level sportsmen and women spent more than $19 billion on hunting, fishing, and recreational shooting, which does not include spending on items such as trips and travel, or license fees that were necessary for their participation; and
WHEREAS, this spending helped fuel the outdoor economy, which comprised 1.8% of Virginia’s GDP that same year; and
WHEREAS, Virginia’s Indigenous peoples have hunted and fished on the land that we call the Commonwealth of Virginia since time immemorial, and their extraordinary stewardship of the land has allowed Virginians to continue to access these valuable natural resources to this day; and
WHEREAS, National Hunting and Fishing Day was established in 1972 to celebrate and recognize hunters and anglers for their immense contributions to fish and wildlife conservation, and to our society;
NOW, THEREFORE, I, Ralph S. Northam, do hereby recognize September 25, 2021, as NATIONAL HUNTING AND FISHING DAY in our COMMONWEALTH OF VIRGINIA, and I call this observance to the attention of all our citizens.