It’s a pretty safe bet that the average resident of Montgomery County, Maryland (a suburb of Washington, DC), doesn’t understand the contributions that hunting, fishing, and archery make to wildlife conservation in the county, much less throughout Maryland and the nation. But that changed quite a bit when the Rockville Chapter rolled out the “camo carpet” for a public open house marking National Hunting and Fishing Day.
“No less than 375 adults and kids visited our property to participate in traditional outdoor activities like shooting, archery, fishing, and paddling,” reports chapter president Lee Hays. “And judging by the comments, questions, and general response, we are confident that visitors took away new and very positive connections to conservation — and, of course, the League’s role in it.”
Visitors got to do everything from shooting black powder revolvers and archery to helping build wood duck nest boxes, catching a first-ever fish, and even “petting” Bob, a live Ball Python. The chapter also invited what Hays calls “companion groups” to set up their own exhibits and demonstrations. These proved as diverse as the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation, Seneca Valley Chapter of Trout Unlimited, American Chestnut Foundation, Maryland Bluebird Society, and local Boy Scout and Girl Scout troops.
A few numbers to put the event in perspective:
- 12 packages of nightcrawlers donated (and shipped overnight!) by Mike’s Bait Service for youth fishing activities
- 27 students earned SSL hours — and learned a lot — by helping out
- 45 youth got to shoot black powder for the first time
- 49 BB rifle shooters took their targets home as souvenirs
- 85 youth and adults tried paddling in the chapter’s canoes and kayaks
- 108 artisan sandwiches hand-crafted by three volunteers for all the rest
- 200 free “grab bags” containing conservation information, snacks, and other goodies
- 375 adults and kids at the day’s events
- 399 photos taken by the event’s “official photographer”
- 840 iced, 8-ounce bottles of water distributed to guests and volunteers
- 900 arrows sent down range by visitors trying archery, many for the first time
- 970 pieces of bait cut from all those worms
But here’s the most important number: 72.
That’s the number of Rockville Chapter Ikes involved in advance planning, marketing and publicity, event networking, soliciting donations, preparing the site, purchasing supplies, logistics, and “staffing” the individual hands-on activities. And that’s the kind of chapter participation that led to one outstanding event!
We hope you’re inspired to plan your own National Hunting and Fishing Day event! Start now with resources at www.iwla.org/NHFD.