The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department has announced a new initiative aimed at getting more Texans outdoors.

Saturday has been designated a day when hunters and anglers are encouraged to provide an opportunity for others to accompany them at outdoor venues to encourage more people to hunt and fish.

The date coincides 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 Carter Smith, TPWD executive director. “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 of the great outdoors.”

Kayakers Iram Salas, from left, and Jose Lozano fish Saturday at Jaime J. Zapata Memorial Boat Ramp and Kayak Launch Area.

Part of the reason for pushing the new program is for years, for whatever reason, TPWD officials say the proportion of people who hunt and fish in Texas is not keeping up with the overall growth of the state’s population.

Although outdoor recreation increased significantly in response to the COVID-19 shutdowns, “there hasn’t been a significant long-term increase in the total number of people participating in hunting and fishing, which could spell problems for natural resource conservation in the future,” TPWD said in a statement.

Any falloff in participation in hunting and fishing could mean financial problems for TPWD, since funding for the agency is heavily dependent on license fees for operations and conservation programs.

The new initiative is called the Texas Recruitment, Retention and Reactivation Strategic Plan.

National Hunting and Fishing Day launched in 1971. It occurs each year on the fourth Saturday in September.