Conservation of wildlife and natural resources is a noble cause, one that requires millions and millions of dollars to get the job done.
Last year, the nation’s hunters and anglers provided nearly $49 million for the cause. They contributed $19, 276,302 in excise taxes on equipment they use, while hunting and fishing licenses brought an additional $29,581,559. All of this went into the conservation kitty.
All Kentuckians benefit from this money through improved access to public lands, public shooting facilities, improved water quality, habitat restoration, and numerous other Kentucky Fish and Wildlife projects funded through this system
In addition to the funds generated, the activities of the 713,000 Kentucky hunters and anglers support more than 35,000 jobs across the state.
And so, for the 44th straight year, a special day has been set aside to honor those who make these contributions. This coming Saturday will be observed as National Hunting and Fishing Day.
Also in observance of this occasion, Gov. Matt Bevin has proclaimed it “Hunting and Fishing Day in Kentucky.”
State Sen. Robin Webb, whose late father, Dr. Robert C. Webb, served for many years on the state wildlife commission that makes recommendations on how Kentucky’s share of this money will be spent, is deeply involved in this day of honoring the state’s licensed hunters and fishermen.
She is president of the National Assembly of Sportsmen’s Caucuses and co-chair of the Kentucky Legislative Sportsmen’s Caucus.
“I am proud to join like-minded sportsmen-legislators from across the nation in celebrating National Hunting and Fishing Day on Saturday,” she said in a news release.
“In celebrating this day, we recognize the time-honored traditions of hunting and angling – the original conservationists – in supporting sound, science-based fish and wildlife management.”
Through purchasing licenses, tags and duck stamps, she said, and by paying excise taxes on firearms, ammunition, archery equipment, fishing tackle, motorboat fuel, and other hunting and fishing equipment, sportsmen and women drive conservation funding in the United States. Collectively, these funding sources create the American System of Conservation Funding, a unique “user-pays, public-benefits” model.
“All Kentuckians benefit from these monies through improved access to public lands, public shooting facilities, improved water quality, habitat restoration, and numerous other Kentucky Fish and Wildlife projects funded through this system,” Webb said in the prepared document.
“The contribution of hunting and angling should not be taken for granted, and opportunities to hunt and fish should continue to be abundantly available for future generations.”
More information on National Hunting and Fishing Day is available at http://www.nhfday.org/Page/Home.aspx.
NIGHT OF HORROR
I should have never taken a boat out by myself from the camp dock, especially on a large Canadian lake I’d never been on before and with no GPS device to guide me.
I had suffered from a sick stomach that morning and the others had gone out without me. But in late afternoon I began to feel like fishing. I kept my eye on the shoreline as I cast, knowing that all I had to do was reverse direction to make it back to the dock.
It was well into the evening when the storm struck. A powerful wind rose up with a shout. It blew me away from the camp. The little outboard on the aluminum rental boat could not override it.
Through the driving rain I could barely make out that I was being driven toward a forested island. I was still a hundred yards from shore when a huge swell roared over the side and swamped the boat.
It had enough flotation built in to keep it afloat. I clung to its side until it struck shore and I was able to wade out.
A short distance into the woods I saw a cabin. The door was unlocked. I went in. I searched in vain for a candle, a lamp or lantern, or any source of light.
The water was cold and I knew I could be in danger from the silent intruder, hypothermia.
In the gathering dusk I gathered some fallen tree limbs from around the cabin and soon had a roaring fire going in the fireplace. I striped out of my clothes and hung them on a chair in front of the fire.
A bed in a corner appeared to have clean sheets and covers. I slipped in under the quilt and was soon asleep.
Sometime in the night I awoke in total darkness. The fire had burned out.
What had awakened me was something sniffing around my neck, smelling of me. I swung my arm violently but connected with nothing.
Then in the darkness came an even weirder sensation. Something was licking my shoulder.
It was tasting me!
I began to kick and swing my arms and shout loudly, “Get out! Get out!”
The thing had gone under the bed! It was waiting for my feet to hit the floor so it could grab me by the legs and pull me under!
Suddenly an overhead light came on. Bonnie was standing in my bedroom doorway. How did my wife get into this horrible situation?
“Go drink you a glass of milk,” she said, then went back to bed.
Belle, the little whisker-faced dog that had been sleeping by my side, was gone. She was finally located under my wife’s bed.
“Don’t look under my bed,” I said as I headed for the kitchen, from where I would head for the recliner in the living room.
Reach G. SAM PIATT at (606) 932-3619 or [email protected]