The Texas outdoors has a problem: not enough people getting outside to hunt and fish. A drop in the number of people hunting and fishing could lead to a reduction in funds for the management of game and fish, said Texas Parks and Wildlife Department officials. To counteract the decrease, the TPWD launched a new initiative, the Texas Recruitment, Retention and Reactivation Strategic Plan, or R3.
The plan, which aims to invite more Texans into the outdoors, launches Saturday, Sept. 25, in conjunction with National Hunting and Fishing Day.
“This year, in honor of National Hunting and Fishing Day, I challenge you to share your passion for the outdoors with someone new by providing an opportunity for them to hunt and fish,” said TPWD Executive Director Carter Smith. “Not only will you help make lifelong memories, but you will help pass along one of the greatest gifts we can give future generations: a love for the great outdoors.”
According to the department, hunters and anglers primarily fund the state’s wildlife management programs through the purchase of hunting and fishing licenses and stamps. They also support the programs through special taxes paid on hunting and fishing equipment, motorboat fuel, firearms, and ammunition. This, the department stated, funds millions of dollars for conservation programs that benefit both game and non-game species in Texas.
Unfortunately, the number of people who hunt and fish in Texas has not kept pace with the increase in the state’s population. Except for the recent surge in people heading outdoors during the COVID-19 pandemic, the state hasn’t seen a significant long-term increase in the total number of people hunting and fishing. Since the hunters and anglers fund a large part of conservation efforts in the state, it could cause problems for that work in the future.
The R3 plan’s goal is to connect people to outdoor recreation such as hunting, fishing, boating, and other shooting sports. By doing so, TPWD officials said it will help with current and future fish and wildlife conservation as well as natural resources conservation.
TPWD offers mentored hunting workshops.