PAnews.com, Port Arthur, Texas

January 23, 2013

OUTDOORS COLUMN: Budgeting your outdoors lifestyle

Chester Moore, Jr.
The Port Arthur News

PORT ARTHUR — I have yet to go duck hunting this season.



    And with season’s end looming it is probably not going to happen.



    Why would someone like myself who absolutely loves duck hunting forego hunting in a year when it is been better than average for many hunters?



    Money.



    That’s right money.



    In the Moore household we budget things radically different than the federal government and spend what we have and try our best to not put things on credit.



     This year we were hit with some big medical bills including a bill for minor surgery my daughter had to get in October that costs just about what I make in a month.



    I write this not to seek sympathy because we feel blessed we made enough to pay for these things.



    I write to share that I am going through the same thing many of you are going through: the pain of budgeting your outdoors lifestyle.



    With gas prices double what they were four years ago even going out in the boat puts a serious pinch on the pocket.



    This year numerous hunters shared stories of getting off leases they held for years because of skyrocketing lease fees, the tripling of corn prices in the last five years (to fill feeders for those of you who don’t deer hunt) and the cost getting to the lease.



     Fishermen are having a tough go of it as gas prices are eating them alive and other factors are costing them time on the water.



     Wanna know the truth?



    My situation did not bother me one bit.



    I have learned to utilize the opportunities I have and in Southeast Texas, we have plenty of them.



    Instead of making a bunch of trips over to Lake Calcasieu as I like to do when time allows, I fished ponds within a 10-mile radius of my house and focused heavily on bass fishing.



     Nothing sharpens an anglers skills like targeting heavily pressured bass in small water so what might seem like a negative actually turned into a positive.



    When I would see teal or wood ducks on those ponds there were a few moments when I would fantasize about being in a duck blind but overall the time fishing was extremely enjoyable and educational.



    If you enjoy outdoors time and live in the Southeast Texas/Southwest Louisiana region, you can always find something to do. This is not true of many areas and is one reason I feel so blessed to live here.



    If you can’t afford the drive to fish East Galveston Bay, fish Sabine. If the Hill Country deer lease is too expensive look into hunting some of the national forest areas 90 minutes north of here. The action might not be exactly the same but the opportunities are here for the taking.



    Something else that has cut into my outdoors budget so to speak is my daughter.



    I am booked on many weekends doing seminars and she and my wife often come along with me. On off weekends, I typically choose to stick around the house so I can spend time with them.



    While money is certainly important, time with them is much more so it is important to learn to budget your outdoors time around and with your family.



    Young men in particular are bad about working long weeks and then spending every waking hour on the weekend in the deer woods or on the water. And while to a certain extend that is understandable, the fish and game will always be there. You only get one shot at raising children.



    Make as much time as possible to bring them with you or tailor make outdoors excursions for them when you are home.



      And there are times when it is simply best to stay home on a Saturday eat a big breakfast and be lazy with the family.



     You may never turn your child into a diehard outdoorsman by taking them fishing or hunting. There are many other things they can do nowadays that do not require getting up early and spending time in the elements.



    One thing however is guaranteed.



     If they figure out you are choosing spending time “with the boys” at the deer lease over them every weekend, they will resent the outdoors, not embrace it.



     Life is a balancing act and money and time are precious commodities these days.



      Use them wisely.



(To contact Chester Moore, e-mail him at cmooreoutdoors@gmail.com. You can hear him on “Moore Outdoors” Fridays from 6-7 p.m. on Newstalk AM 560 KLVI.)