Dude Perfect

National Hunting & Fishing Day brings people together, educates new audiences and promotes conservation across the country. This year’s honorary chairs are social media sensations, Dude Perfect.

For all of those who love the outdoors, especially hunting and fishing activities in the great outdoors, mark your calendar for two Saturdays from now.

Since 1972, National Hunting and Fishing Day has been observed nationally on the fourth Saturday of September to celebrate the fact that hunters and anglers are the driving forces behind conservation. Those who enjoy the many activities found in the great outdoors are the ones who primarily foot the bill for the conservation of fish, wildlife and other natural resources.

The national honorary chairmen for Hunting and Fishing Day 2020 are social media superstars Dude Perfect.

Dude Perfect is a group known for their viral videos that have garnered more than nine billion social media views. Their viral “Hunting Stereotypes” and “Fishing Stereotypes” videos have collectively amassed more than 150,000,000 views on YouTube alone.

As this year’s honorary chairs, Dude Perfect will use their platform of nearly 50 million subscribers to promote NHF Day’s mission of inspiring new audiences to get involved in hunting, target shooting and fishing.

Oklahomans have always been staunch supporters of America’s longtime traditions of fishing and hunting. Harvesting fish and game was how many settlers survived before Oklahoma became a territory and later a state.

In modern times, survival doesn’t depend on fishing and hunting. But in many ways, conservation of our natural resources does depend on fishing and hunting. Many wild species would suffer without hunters and anglers, because they are the main source of funding for conservation.

Some hunting statistics include:

· Last year alone, Oklahoma’s sportsmen and women generated close to $42 million … to support the conservation efforts of the Department of Wildlife Conservation.

· Oklahoma’s 780,000 hunters and anglers support the state’s economy through spending more than $1.5 billion annually while engaged in their pursuits.

· This spending supports over 23,500 jobs in Oklahoma and generates $143 million in state and local taxes.

· The average Oklahoma hunter spends $2484 on the sport annually.

· Nationally, teenage girls are the fastest growing market in sport shooting.

· There are 72 percent more women hunting than just five years ago.

· Hunting overall brought in more revenue ($38.3 billion) than Google ($37.9 billion) or Goldman Sachs Group ($36.8 billion).

Among the many people who are active in the great outdoors, nobody does more for conservation than hunters and anglers. There are 34 million hunters and anglers in the United States. Hunters, anglers and recreational shooters generate about $100,000 every 30 minutes for wildlife conservation through their purchase of hunting and fishing licenses, firearms and ammunition, bows and arrows, and rods and reels.

The annual total of $1.75 billion pays for the vast majority of the conservation work done by fish and wildlife agencies in every state. These public agencies serve the citizens by overseeing all fish and wildlife, including hunted and non-hunted species, as well as all aquatic and terrestrial habitats. In this way, hunters and anglers benefit all Americans who love wildlife and wild places.

Monarch Watch at Hackberry Flat

The Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation will host a Monarch Butterfly Watch the first week in October at the Hackberry Flat Center near Frederick.

“We’ll be tagging monarchs in the mornings and watching them go to roost in a stand of soapberry trees in the evenings,” said Melynda Hickman, biologist for the Wildlife Department. The Monarch Butterfly Watch is a free event and registration is not required, but Hickman requests that visitors check the Friends of Hackberry Flat Facebook page prior to attending.

“Visitors and school groups tagged 476 monarchs as part of Hackberry Flat Center’s 2016 Monarch Watch,” Hickman said. “This March, three of those tags were found more than 1,200 miles away in the El Rosario Sanctuary in Michoacán, Mexico. It’s amazing to know the butterflies we saw in southwestern Oklahoma made it all the way to Mexico.”

Morning Tagging – Oct. 4, 5, 6, 9 and 10 — After a brief discussion of butterfly basics, monarchs collected from the area will be tagged as a group. Meet at the Hackberry Flat Center by 9 a.m. for this hands-on activity.

Evening Roost Watch — Sept. Oct. 3, 4, 5 and 9 — An open air trailer will take visitors to a longtime monarch roost site within the management area. Meet at the Hackberry Flat Center by 6:30 p.m. Bring a collapsible chair and light jacket for your comfort; activity ends at 8 p.m. Children must be at least 8-years old to participate in the evening roost watch, and pets are not allowed.

“Hackberry Flat has so much to offer,” Hickman said. “We’re excited to be able to share this experience with butterfly and wildlife enthusiasts from across the state.”

Both morning and evening activities will be held regardless of weather conditions, but morning tagging activities will be limited to the number of butterflies available at the roost site.

“So many things can affect their migration,” Hickman said. “Changes in wind speeds, wind direction, weather fronts and potential storms can all affect how many butterflies will be at Hackberry Flat during the event.”

Reservations are required for both events. Participants can contact Hickman via email Melynda.hickman@odwc.ok.gov to reserve a spot. Also keep up to date with the Monarch migration by checking the Friends of Hackberry Flat Facebook page.

To get to Hackberry Flat Center, from the south side of Frederick, take U.S. 183 south for one mile, then go east on Airport Road for three miles. Follow the blacktop road south and continue six miles. Watch for signs to the Center.

Hackberry Flat Wildlife Management Area offers 7,120-acres of wildlife recreational opportunities. The Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation, along with many conservation-minded partners, restored this legendary wetland, creating a vast mosaic of wetland habitats for prairie waterfowl, shorebirds and other wetland-dependent birds. Upland areas of native sunflowers and cultivated fields interspersed with mesquite have become one of the state’s premier dove-hunting destinations. Open for scheduled events, the Hackberry Flat Center offers interpretive guidance for wildlife enthusiasts, students and educators. For more information, log on to wildlifedepartment.com. Participants of these programs are exempt from needing a Wildlife Conservation Passport or valid hunting or fishing license while on Hackberry Flat WMA.

For more information about this event, or other programs held at Hackberry Flat Center, contact Hickman at melynda.hickman@odwc.ok.gov or by calling (450) 990-4977.

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