Governor Tim Walz has proclaimed Saturday, Sept. 24 as Hunting and Fishing Day in Minnesota. Saturday also is National Public Lands Day, and the first day of Take a Kid Hunting weekend, offering the state a triple opportunity to highlight the hunting, fishing, and other recreational, environmental, and economic benefits of Minnesota’s public lands and waters.
“Minnesota has a rich tradition of hunting and angling, and a bright future promoting these traditions to the next generation of outdoor enthusiasts,” reads the proclamation issued by Governor Walz. “Hunters have played a critical role in preserving our state’s public lands — from wildlife restoration and wetland preservation, to forest management and environmental protection.”
Last year, Minnesota’s 2,075,692 licensed hunters and anglers generated almost $104 million to support the conservation efforts of the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, which manages the state’s 5.6 million acres of public land.
“Hunting and fishing are about more than harvesting fish and game — they’re about having a deep and meaningful connection with the land,” DNR Commissioner Sarah Strommen said. “Hunters and anglers are critical to the DNR’s conservation efforts and to ensuring our public lands remain beautiful, bountiful spaces for future generations. For this reason, we’re proud Minnesota can celebrate hunting, fishing, and public lands on the same day.”
National Hunting and Fishing Day was established in 1972 by President Richard Nixon to promote outdoor sports and conservation. Take a Kid Hunting Weekend was established in 1990 by the Minnesota Legislature to encourage adults to share Minnesota’s hunting heritage with youth. National Public Lands Day was created in 1994 to promote stewardship of public lands and is the largest single-day volunteer effort to restore and enhance public lands. Together, these three special days highlight the connection between Minnesotans, the state’s vibrant outdoor recreation industry, and the preservation of public lands.
In addition to being excellent places to hunt and fish, Minnesota’s public lands provide clean water and air; carbon storage; habitat for pollinators and wildlife; protection of rare plants, animals, cultural and geologic features; and affordable access to many forms of outdoor recreation. These lands also play a key role in the state’s economy, generating millions of dollars each year for Minnesota’s Public School and University Trust Funds as well as for the tourism, outdoor recreation and forest products industries.
Minnesotans care deeply about their public lands and waterways: 94% of adults recognize the economic importance of their local government investing in parks, trails, roads and schools; and more than 75% say these are extremely or very important investments.
Those who want to spend Hunting and Fishing Day on some of Minnesota’s public lands can choose from 75 state parks and recreation areas, 60 state forests, 1,500 wildlife management areas, and 700 aquatic management areas.
The DNR also has 168 scientific and natural areas and will host a National Public Lands Day seed collection event at the Lost Prairie Scientific and Natural Area on Saturday, Sept. 24. For more information, email [email protected]. To search for other National Public Lands Day volunteer events in Minnesota, go to the National Environmental Education Foundation website.
Take a Kid Hunting Weekend runs Sept. 24-25. On these two days, adult Minnesota residents accompanied by a youth younger than 16 can hunt small game without a license but must comply with open seasons, limits and other regulations found in the Minnesota hunting regulations.
For more information about hunting in Minnesota, go to the hunting and trapping page of the DNR’s website. For information about fishing, see the DNR’s fishing page, and for information about how the DNR manages Minnesota’s public lands, go to the DNR’s state-managed public lands page.