December 2013
Outdoor Life

Hunting & Fishing Almanac

Hunting Heritage Foundation Releases 2nd Edition

 

The Hunting Heritage Foundation recently announced the publication and distribution of the "2013-2014 Alabama Hunting & Fishing Almanac." Twenty thousand free copies of the "Almanac" were published in partnership with the Alabama State Chapter of the National Wild Turkey Federation and distributed through H. T. Hackney Co. to independent grocers across the state.

With the help of NWTF and Hackney, we are happy to be able to provide this ready-reference guide for hunting and fishing to retailers to give to their customers free. The Alabama Chapter of NWTF clearly demonstrates a strong commitment to keeping the ranks of hunters broad and deep. The partnership with Hackney results in getting the "Almanac" in the hands of rank and file hunters and fishermen through hundreds of grocers at the local level across the state.

Most of these small, independent stores no longer receive the "Official State of Alabama Hunting & Fishing Digest" because they are not license agents due to lack of Internet access. Demographic research has shown the vast majority of Alabama’s licensed hunters are hard-working, middle-class people; most are not advantaged economically or otherwise. Comparisons of year-to-year license databases reveal a huge "churn" or turnover in license-buyers on an annual basis. The least-advantaged, less-avid hunters are the ones we are losing first. The "Hunting & Fishing Almanac" is written on a very elementary level and aimed at the huge segment of not-very-avid, not-very-advantaged hunters and anglers.

Chances are, if you are reading this, you are an avid hunter like me. It’s important to remember the vast majority of hunters are not avid or committed. Most are casual participants, only hunting occasionally, either by choice or due to lack of opportunity. Many don’t have a place to go. The mill worker or miner, working a shift that precludes hunting, may only get to hit the woods one or two days a year when things close for Christmas.

Yet, every hunter who buys a license counts exactly the same in terms of the license they buy and the 3-1 matching federal aid monies Alabama and 49 other states receive. Each state’s annual apportionment of matching Wildlife Restoration dollars is based essentially on how many licensed hunters that state has.

NWTF State Chapter President Phil Savage said, "The Alabama Chapter of NWTF is pleased to play a major role in funding the printing of the ‘Almanac’ as part of NWTF’s ‘Save the Habitat. Save the Hunt.’ initiative. We recognize that all the good habitat-related work we do can only be sustained by keeping the ranks of hunters strong. This targeted approach is aimed at the hard-working, middle-class hunters who are the backbone of hunting in Alabama and across the nation."

An additional 3,000 copies of the "Almanac" have been custom-printed for other businesses, most notably Alabama Farmers Cooperative, making them available at Quality Co-op stores for free. The corporate citizenship displayed by H. T. Hackney Co., AFC and others is a real asset. Keeping people hunting and fishing not only pays for putting Conservation Enforcement officers and biologists on the ground and the water but it drives a huge economic engine.

Last year, 10,000 copies of the "First Edition Alabama Hunting & Fishing Almanac 2012-13," also funded in large part by the Alabama State Chapter of NWTF, were distributed by Hackney. The publications were quickly picked up and utilized by patrons of stores all over the state. Many favorable comments were received, especially as to the simplicity of the content. In essence, if an individual can read a calendar and knows when his off day is, he can see at a glance what he can hunt on that day. The simplicity and succinctness of the content is preserved in the expanded second edition.

This targeted approach is aimed at keeping people hunting, an essential part of NWTF’s "Save the Habitat. Save the Hunt." initiative.

As set out in NWTF CEO George Thornton’s "On the Horizon" column in the March/April 13 Turkey Country, " … the past has proven we won’t have sustainable wildlife habitat unless hunters are involved. Hunters pay for 80 percent of the budgets for state wildlife agencies driving the research and work to restore essential habitat for game and nongame species."

The "Second Edition Almanac" is a 32-page, calendar-based guide to hunting seasons and regulations. The user-friendly text has proven popular with all kinds of hunters - the avid and not-so-avid. Every hunter counts the same in paying for management and protection of wildlife resources enjoyed by all of society. This is why it is so important to keep the base of hunters broad.

Hunting amounts to a $1.8 billion economic impact annually in Alabama. Freshwater fishing adds another $780 million. The two activities are responsible for $1.7 billion in direct retail expenditures, spinning off $155 million in state and local taxes every year in Alabama.

To learn more about the role hunters play, go to www.huntingheritagefoundation.com.

Corky Pugh is the executive director of the Hunting Heritage Foundation.