U.S. Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke signed a proclamation last week to encourage participation in hunting, fishing, and outdoor recreation across the country. Zinke, a retired Navy SEAL and former Montana lawmaker appointed by President Trump last year to head the Interior Department, proclaimed October as National Hunting and Fishing Month while visiting the Wonders of Wildlife Museum in Springfield, Missouri.
“American hunters and anglers are the backbone of conservation efforts, generating over a billion dollars each year for conservation,” said Zinke, highlighting the importance of the North American hunting model in which sportsmen subsidize state conservation efforts through license fees and purchases of outdoor equipment. “For more than 150 years, sportsmen and women have led efforts to protect and conserve our Nation’s fish and wildlife.”
Since assuming the lead role in the shepherding about one-fifth of the land in the country while overseeing the Bureau of Land Management, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and the National Park Service, Zinke has rolled back bans on lead ammo implemented by the Obama administration, opened public lands to sportsmen, sought to expand the flagging ranks of the nation’s hunters, and signed orders to protect big game migration corridors.
This month is not the first such designation by Zinke. Last year, the Interior boss signed a proclamation of August as National Shooting Sports Month to encourage participation in the shooting sports and emphasize firearms safety. Originally an initiative of the National Shooting Sports Foundation, that month-long event is dedicated to the 50 million people who participate in hunting and sports shooting which, through Pittman-Robertson excise taxes, fuels conservation and safety efforts nationwide.