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The great outdoors has long been an important part of the lives of Alabamians. Time spent hunting and fishing with family and friends has been ingrained in our culture for generations. Outdoor recreational opportunities in our state are as abundant as the diversity of wildlife and landscapes found within its borders and along our Gulf Coast. Hunters and anglers have choices for outdoor adventure that range from chasing rabbits in the Appalachian foothills, to reeling in largemouth bass from our world-renowned rivers, reservoirs and lakes.

Despite Alabama’s plentiful wildlife and outdoor recreational opportunities, less than four percent of Alabamians actually purchase a hunting or fishing license each year. Many are simply unaware that hunting, fishing, and shooting sports licenses are crucial to the Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources’ (ADCNR) efforts to preserve these natural resources for the future enjoyment of our children and grandchildren.

License sales for outdoors activities also leverage federal funding through the Pittman-Robertson Wildlife Restoration and Dingell-Johnson Sport Fish Restoration acts which levy excise taxes on some hunting, fishing, and shooting sports equipment. In turn, these funds are distributed to states according to each state’s size and number of license sales. About 80 percent of Pittman-Robertson funding is now generated by first-time gun owners and recreational target shooters. To accommodate this increased interest in shooting sports, ADCNR is working to provide additional recreational shooting opportunities and will soon open its thirteenth public shooting range which will be located in Shelby County.

The shift away from more traditional forms of outdoor recreation has increased the need for experienced mentors to share their passion for hunting and fishing with those with little to no experience. By becoming a hunting or fishing mentor, you can pass on these traditions to a new generation who will become future stewards of Alabama’s natural resources. I encourage each of you to take someone who has never been hunting, fishing, or participated in sport shooting with you on your next outing.

Your purchase of a hunting, fishing or wildlife heritage license not only funds wildlife conservation and habitat restoration, it is also an important component of the state’s economy. Outdoor-related activities in our state generate an economic impact of nearly $15 billion annually. That means more than 135,000 outdoor industry jobs for Alabamians. Hunting, fishing, and shooting sports make this possible.

Alabama’s great outdoors is calling everyone. Anyone who has an interest in exploring the excellent hunting opportunities on our 1.3 million acres of public land, or experiencing some of the best freshwater fishing in the country on our abundant waterways should plan their next outdoor adventure in Alabama. Whether your interests include large and small game hunting, catching quality largemouth bass or taking aim at one of Alabama’s many public shooting ranges, access to quality outdoor recreation can be found throughout our state.

No place on earth compares to Alabama, especially if you love the outdoors. I sincerely thank you for your support of ADCNR’s conservation efforts and I hope you have a safe and successful season!

Kay Ivey, Governor