As I become more “mature,” I find that being in the outdoors is more important to me each day.
Much of it is just getting away from the office and the racket that’s associated with it.
To me, it’s an escape and a chance for me to get back to my roots.
My brother and I were very fortunate to have mentors to teach us about the outdoors, when we were growing up in Watertown, S.D.
Our mentors were our dad, who did some hunting; our grandparents, who fished a lot; and our next-door neighbor, Glen Matson.
What was cool about him was that he was willing to answer all of our questions, no matter how silly they may be.
Armed with the information we gleaned from Dad and our grandparents, my brother and I spent every minute we could a block from our house along the Big Sioux River, and as far south as Lake Pelican.
We were really lucky to have someone introduce us to the outdoors.
Nowadays, things have changed. It used to be that a large part of our population was rural, people who lived in the country or in smaller communities and were closer to the land; they knew that hamburger came from a cow and pork came from a hog, not from McDonald’s. The sad thing about things today is the fact that those who fish and hunt are in the minority and as the minority we need to get our behinds off the couch and start promoting our sports.
Many kids come from one-parent households with a parent who doesn’t know much, if anything, about the outdoors or who have no one in their family who’s into the outdoors to teach them.
We, the outdoors people, can’t afford to sit by and think our sports are holding their own, and there are people out there willing to teach people about the outdoors.
The outdoors future is up to you and I and other members of the hunting and fishing society to show youngsters all the great things that the outdoors has to offer.
You’re just the one who can give them that information. These kids are looking for something to do and there are so many things they can get into that could lead them down the wrong path.
I really enjoy seeing a new angler catching a fish or a young hunter calling in a turkey, because I know we’ve added another outdoorsman or outdoorswoman to our sport.
Another way to support the outdoors is to support the banquets that are held by various conservation organizations.
Pheasants Forever, Whitetails Unlimited, Ducks Unlimited and the National Wild Turkey Federation are all tremendous conservation groups that do an excellent job of promoting the outdoors while working to increase habitat and wildlife populations.