It's mission: To promote, protect and preserve hunting and the shooting sports.
NSSF Recommends Five Actions for Hunters to Take
NEWTOWN, Conn. -- With hunting season unfolding like the colors of autumn, the National Shooting Sports Foundation encourages five actions hunters can take during this time of fair chase and harvest.
"We ask hunters to consider these thoughtful actions during this beautiful time of year when we enjoy the companionship of family and friends in the outdoors and the riches that nature provides for us," said Steve Sanetti, president of NSSF. "Each one of these actions reaffirms the value of hunting on a personal level and reminds us of our obligations toward wildlife and our fellow hunters."
Put healthful fare locally acquired on your table
Although it may appear to be a current movement, living an eco-friendly lifestyle is not new to hunters, who have always relied on renewable resources to provide nutritious food for their families -- food locally acquired and unfettered by hormones or processed feed. As NSSF President Steve Sanetti has pointed out in a national column, "Eighty-four percent of us hunt exclusively in our home states. Only 5 percent never hunt locally. Compared with consumers of U.S. supermarket food which routinely travels as much as 2,500 miles from source to table, we are model locavores."
Take a youth hunting
Nearly 300,000 apprentice hunting licenses have been put to use thanks to legislation passed in 29 states that allows a youngster to try hunting with a licensed adult mentor. Youth who are introduced to supervised hunting at an early age tend to stick with it, while children introduced in their mid-teens are often diverted by video games and organized sports. Check your state hunting regulations to see if the opportunity exists to take a youth hunting.
Be a good conservationist
Learn about the critical role hunters have played in protecting wildlife and wild places. Join a conservation organization that helps protect the species of your choice. With interest in wildlife and habitat heightened by Ken Burns' "National Parks: America's Best Idea" series, now is a good time to explain to youngsters how as hunters they are part of a community that helped save the white-tailed deer, wild turkey and Rocky Mountain elk. Teach them how they can carry on the legacy of Theodore Roosevelt and Aldo Leopold. A good place to start is NSSF's booklet, The Hunter and Conservation and the video, Unendangered Species.
Be an ethical sportsman
Practice and teach the rules of fair chase, and report violators of written laws and regulations. Lawbreakers hurt the image of responsible hunters. Unwritten rules also exist among hunters that must be followed, such as agreeing not to take an excessively long shot, using inadequate equipment and preparing properly for the hunt. Those who violate these unwritten rules should be corrected. Learn more from NSSF's brochure, "The Ethical Hunter." Consider reading "Beyond Fair Chase" by Jim Posewitz. Your state fish and wildlife agency (find them at www.huntandshoot.org) or the International Hunter Education Association (www.ihea.org) can assist with hunter education courses.
Practice safe gun handling at home and in the field
Hunting season is always a good time to take stock of how safely your firearms are stored in the home. Proper storage of firearms, with ammunition stored separately, can help prevent firearms accidents, particularly among children. Learn the basics of safe gun handling by reading the NSSF brochure "Firearm Safety Depends on You" or by watching the video of the same title either on DVD or online at www.nssf.org. Learn about safe storage of firearms in the home at www.projectchildsafe.org.
The National Shooting Sports Foundation is the trade association for the firearms industry. Its mission is to promote, protect and preserve hunting and the shooting sports. Formed in 1961, NSSF has a membership of more than 4,000 manufacturers, distributors, firearms retailers, shooting ranges, sportsmen's organizations and publishers. For more information, log on to www.nssf.org.