ROANOKE, W.Va. — Sportsmen and women will gather this weekend to enjoy two of West Virginia’s most popular activities, hunting and fishing. The annual National Huntington and Fishing Day celebration is set for Saturday and Sunday at Stonewall Jackson Lake State Park.
“It’s a time for outdoors enthusiasts to come together and not only participate in a variety of outdoors activities, but it is also a traditional hunting and fishing show so they can check out products as well.” said Kayla Donathan, Events Coordinator for the West Virginia Division of Natural Resources.
The DNR teams with the West Virginia Wildlife Federation each year to put on the celebration which is spread throughout the sprawling park area. The event includes many hands on demonstrations for sportsmen and women to learn more about outdoors pursuits.
“Some of those seminars include how to hunt with squirrel dogs, whitetail deer taxidermy, fishing seminars, and how to film your hunt,” Donathan said.
The event will also include a healthy display of big fish and big bucks killed in West Virginia. Those are displayed in a special area of the Roanoke Building.
The weekend also includes the ever popular Youth Outdoor Challenge
“It’s composed of a variety of different activities for kids of any age,” Donathan explained. “Things like wildlife identification, boating safety, and there’s the gun range. If kids participate and complete the requirements they qualify for a variety of prizes.”
The grand prize each day is a lifetime hunting and fishing license.
The origins of National Hunting and Fishing Days stretch back to the 1960’s in Pennsylvania when a local sporting goods store owner wanted to recognize the contributions of sportsmen to the outdoors. He managed to get the Governor to declare recognition of the day in his state.. In 1972, by Senate Joint Resolution 117, Congress requested the President to declare the fourth Saturday of September 1972 as National Hunting and Fishing Day. On May 2 of the same year, President Richard Nixon signed proclamation 4128 designating the Fourth Saturday in September National Hunting and Fishing Day.
For many years, West Virginia always celebrated the event on the 4th Saturday, until last year when the weekend moved back one week to accommodate a new opening day for archery hunting season.
Hours each day are from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Admission is $10 for anyone age 14 and older. Those under age 14 get in free.