The Port Arthur News
PORT ARTHUR —
I am extremely blessed to work in a field that involves a personal passion.
A love for the great outdoors has been an important part of my life for my whole life so I fully understand and appreciate the opportunities I have been given.
That does not mean however that I love all aspects of the outdoors business.
The industry has over the decades tried to sell the public on two things that are harmful to the business itself in the long-run and the people they are serving.
The first is the idea of trophy hunting.
I have nothing against hunter pursuing big deer, African game, etc. and shooting for the record books. It is very understandable to enjoy pursuing the biggest and most elusive of a species.
If you watch outdoors television or read certain publications, however it seems that all that matters is the Boone & Crockett score of antlers for whitetail deer or the various systems used to gauge exotics and other species.
When a young kid tunes into a hunting program and sees them killing only giant bucks and then he only gets an opportunity at a doe or a spike it creates a feeling of inferiority.
Worse than that, it has created a feel of superiority in some hunters who fancy themselves game managers of sorts.
I have had several people who hunt in East Texas tell me of bringing a nice eight pointers back to camp and having other hunters either chastise or make fun of them because the deer was not “old enough” or “wasn’t a trophy”.
Truth be told the vast majority of hunting programs on television involving deer are done behind high fences where the chance of encountering a giant buck is much higher than on open ground. I have nothing against high fenced hunting but let’s be honest here. With whitetail, there is a difference between shooting one on a 1000 acre high fenced property stocked with huge bucks and managed for them than on an open range hunting club in Jefferson or Hardin County.
On the fishing (and hunting) side of things is the constant barrage of misinformation that one must have the latest gear.
I understand the marketing part but let’s take boats for example. A fish doesn’t care if you catch them out of an aluminum boat or a $60,000 bass boat.
Fish also will still hit lures that have been out for a few years and have no prejudices against off brand products.
I love new gear as much as the next guy but we need to let the folks who can’t afford it know they can still participate.
The archery field may be the most trendy and gear driven of all. In fact, I had someone sheepishly tell me their bow was 10 years old and they hadn’t upgraded to very latest in archery gear.
I reminded them thousands of deer are killed with recurves and longbows every year so it’s okay. Technologically they are still ahead of those guys.
For those who can afford the best products and hunt the biggest ranches I am truly happy.
The industry however needs to do a better job of promoting the outdoors experience, not just the killing of giant trophy animals and buying $500 fishing rods.
If they want to have a future for the business, it would be wise not to scare off the next generation who will have a hard time paying for college and technical training much less putting down their life savings for a hunting trip.
(To contact Chester Moore, e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can hear him on “Moore Outdoors” Fridays from 6-7 p.m. on Newstalk AM 560 KLVI or online at www.klvi.com.)