National Hunting and Fishing Day

The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife's (WDFW) National Hunting and Fishing Day celebration is a great, family-oriented way to introduce youth to target shooting, hunting and fishing. It's also an opportunity to recognize that hunters and anglers continue to be among the most active supporters of wildlife management and conservation.

This year's event will take place on Sept. 28, 2024, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Cowlitz Public Shooting Range located at 1000 Toutle Park Rd, Castle Rock, WA 98611.

Youth 17 years and younger who attend the event with an accompanying adult can shoot WDFW firearms, archery equipment and air rifles for free. Agency staff and WDFW hunter education instructors will be on hand to teach shooting safety and provide instruction and guidance.  

The event also features:

  • Conservation organization displays and info
  • Door prize drawings
  • Fun giveaways
  • Casting practice
  • Knot tying
  • Fish prints
  • Track plaster casting

Volunteers are needed to help make National Hunting and Fishing Day a huge success. Volunteer registration will open in late August 2024. For more information on volunteer opportunities with WDFW visit the Volunteer event list page.

National Hunting and Fishing Day Pre-registration form

About National Hunting and Fishing Day

Boy prepares to shoot an arrow at a National Hunting and Fishing Day event
Photo by WDFW

In the 1960s, hunters and anglers embraced the era's heightened environmental awareness but were discouraged that many people didn't understand the role that sportsmen and women played -- and continue to play -- in the conservation movement.

With urging from the National Shooting Sports Foundation, Congress unanimously authorized National Hunting and Fishing Day on the fourth Saturday of every September. On May 2, 1972, President Richard M. Nixon signed the first proclamation of the annual celebration.

Today, National Hunting and Fishing Day continues as an opportunity to celebrate outdoor sports and conservation -- and as a day to share the pride in conservation successes led by hunters and anglers across the nation.

Hunting and conservation

In March 2016, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service distributed $1.1 billion in revenues, collected from fishing- and hunting-related excise taxes to support outdoor recreation and conservation efforts in all 50 states through the Pittman-Robertson Wildlife Restoration and Dingell-Johnson Sport Fish Restoration acts. The state of Washington received $20 million of this funding.

This is not a new phenomenon; billions of dollars have been contributed to state agencies since the 1930s by American hunters and anglers in support of conservation and wildlife management efforts.

Facts about hunting and fishing:

  • More than 34 million Americans six years of age and older enjoy fishing every year.
  • More Americans hunt and shoot than play baseball.
  • Twenty-five percent of anglers are female; and women and teenage girls represent one of the fastest growing groups of new hunters. 

Funding from hunters has helped restore wildlife populations and habitat:

  • Whitetail deer populations have rebounded nationally to 30 million from just 500,000 deer in 1900.
  • Wild turkey populations have rebounded to over 7 million from 100,000.
  • Rocky Mountain elk populations have rebounded from 41,000 in 1907 to over one million today.
  • Revenue from hunting excise taxes has purchased millions of acres of habitat, maintained by state wildlife agencies.
  • These lands support game and non-game species alike, as well as provide rich opportunities for outdoor recreation such as birdwatching, hiking, camping, climbing and canoeing.

Funding from anglers helps manage America's 3.5 million miles of rivers, 40.8 million acres of lakes, 34,400 square miles of estuaries, 58,000 miles of ocean shoreline and 277 million acres of wetlands. 

Hunters and anglers have been among the nation's largest contributors to conservation, paying for programs that benefit America's wildlife and all who enjoy the outdoors

(Sources: National Hunting and Fishing DayUSFWS, and the National Shooting Sports Foundation)