The proclamation also acknowledged the role hunting and fishing played in sustaining Native Americans as well as the settlers of the New World. As Americans celebrate the 400th Anniversary of the first established English settlement in the United States, it is appropriate to recognize that hunting and fishing were key elements to survival.
Today, programs like Hunters for the Hungry continue to put nourishing protein on the tables of needy Virginians. In addition to donating venison to feeding programs across the Commonwealth, hunters contribute financial support to Hunters for the Hungry by taking advantage of the opportunity to donate when they purchase their hunting licenses.
Hunters and anglers fund much of the wildlife conservation work done in Virginia through the purchase of hunting and fishing licenses and also through such conservation groups as the National Wild Turkey Federation, Ducks Unlimited, Quail Unlimited, Trout Unlimited, B.A.S.S., and more. Hunting and fishing contribute significantly to Virginia's economy, bringing in some $1.2 billion per year according to the National Survey of Fishing, Hunting, and Wildlife-Associated Recreation produced by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
Individuals and groups interested in learning more about hunting and angling can take classes, participate in programs and special hunts tailored for the beginner. The Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries offers numerous family programs, women's programs and programs designed for youth and disabled participants. To learn more about hunting and angling in Virginia, workshops, classes, and special hunts, visit the Department's Web site at www.dgif.virginia.gov.
Virginia's proclamation is part of National Hunting and Fishing Day, which was first established in 1972 by Congress to acknowledge and to thank hunters and anglers for their conservation achievements. Revenue from the sale of hunting and fishing licenses is the primary source of funding for wildlife management and restoration programs, habitat improvement, land acquisition, and general conservation efforts in the United States.
It is the mission of the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries to maintain optimum populations of all species to serve the needs of the Commonwealth; to provide opportunity for all to enjoy wildlife, inland fish, boating and related outdoor recreation; and to promote safety for persons and property in connection with these outdoor activities.