PORT ARTHUR —
Hook and bullet.
That is a term members of the mainstream media use to describe the outdoors community, particularly those of us involved in its communication such as yours truly.
I have always hated that term.
With a passion.
While hooks and bullets are certainly a very important part of this page for example, there is much more to the story.
The wild creatures that drive us to the field are the glue, which holds the outdoors community together. After all, there could be no deer season without deer or bass tournaments without…well…bass.
While pigeonholing from so-called proper media types is understandable, the “hook and bullet community” has dug that hole even deeper. Much deeper.
Not every kid is going to become a full on, camo wearing, gun-loving hunter nor a passionate wadefishing fanatic. And we should not expect them to.
I realize that probably caused a few gasps but it is the truth.
There have always been hunters and there have always been gatherers and both serve equally important roles.
Due to a constant media barrage of animal rights drivel, hunters in particular have a “if you’re not one of us you’re against us” attitude. The result is a large number of young hunters and to a lesser extent anglers who have very little knowledge of the habitat they hunt, game they pursue and no interest in anything that cannot be killed.
They would not know a ringtail from a badger nor a sand eel from a moray.
The outdoors experience for many has been turned into a means by which to enhance one’s status on social media by posing with kills and catches alone. And while we should celebrate outdoors triumphs (I certainly do) appreciating all wild things is important.
Yes, even stuff we cannot kill.
Some kids are just not going to hunt or fish but it does not they cannot go to the family deer lease or enjoy time on the water. However framing the outdoors experience in a macho, frat-house type of way we can drive away children not bent in that direction. In fact, we have done this to entire generations.
Girls are particularly prone to dislike anything even loosely associated with
“redneck” but like all of us a natural love for the outdoors at some level.
I taught two outdoors classes at my church last year (now a WebTV series at Godsoutdoors.com.) and was shocked that around 75 percent of the participants were girls. These were 1-5th graders and not only were they the majority attendees but by a long shot the most enthusiastic.
After my spring session, I started asking why and then realized it was how the classes were promoted and taught. It wasn’t billed as “come get your tough on” in the outdoors class. It was simply about enjoyment.
The next generation of conservationists needs to be the most passionate and dedicated ever due to the growing amount of problems facing our resources. But where are they going to come from?
When reverence is considered weakness and we are driven by bag limits instead of sum total outdoors experience who will truly care enough about habitat to stand when trouble comes? The few have always risen to benefit the many but the few are getting fewer.
A friend of mine and I have talked at length about who will take up the mantle of waterfowl conservation. W agree that all it will take to lose about half of the waterfowl hunters under age 35 is a severe drought on the nesting grounds and a three-bird limit.
Perspective is extremely important and that demographic has nothing to draw from but big fall flights and liberal limits.
In the end that will separate the chaff from the wheat but it will also greatly decrease the amount of duck stamps sold, numbers of hunters groups like Ducks Unlimited and Delta Waterfowl can use when lobbying for pro sportsman/conservation issues and a host of other problems.
As a community, we need to reevaluate what we are teaching young people and take time to enjoy what is out there.
Your daughter that tags along to deer camp may never become an adult hunter but if she gets a proper outdoors education and up close and personal wildlife encounters at a formative age she may become a biologist that makes a real difference in wildlife research.
Your son that seems a little awkward chunking a topwater on the bay may not become an every weekend fisherman like Daddy but he may hold public office one day and hold the very key that keeps your fishing and hunting rights preserved.
Think about it and more importantly do something about it.
(To contact Chester Moore, e-mail him at email@example.com. You can hear him on “Moore Outdoors” Fridays from 6-7 p.m. on Newstalk AM 560 KLVI or online at www.klvi.com.)
PORT ARTHUR —
Hook and bullet.
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Bassmaster Elites are coming back
The Bassmaster Elite Series returns to Southeast Texas in March 2015 to fish out of Orange.
The announcement was made last week, ahead of Bassmaster’s official tournament schedule announcement and the buzz is already strong in Southeast Texas and beyond.
I was in Orlando, Fla. attending the ICAST (fishing trade) show and talked with a number of top anglers including Kevin VanDam, Mike Iaconelli and Shaw Grigsby who said it was no surprise they would return considering the massive turnout for the weigh-ins and that the area welcomed them in a very special way.
It’s far too early to speculate anything like who the top contenders will be or how the fishing will be but there are some things to keep in mind and to look for over the next few months and into the event itself.
• Prefishing-There is a pre-fishing cutoff that usually extends to right before the Bassmaster Classic and I fully expect most of the anglers in the Elites to come back and prefish.
Last go-round probably 2/3 of the field fished the area but this time I expect that to be just about everyone. Many of the anglers that did not pre-fish told me they expected to have a lot of water to fish but the sheer volume and diversity was almost overwhelming.
Beginning probably in the early fall we will see many anglers fishing local waters to get a better idea on how to approach the area.
• East to West Runs-The Elite anglers fished far and wide but I expect even more running next go-round. After launching from the Simmons Drive Boat Ramp in Orange angler Bill Lowen ran down the Intracoastal, across Galveston Bay and fished in the Clear Lake area and placed in the top 12. The more adventurous anglers will try super long runs, in my opinion, even longer than last time to try and score on big fish. The Intracoastal Canal system makes that possible.
• Sabine River -Very few of the anglers actually fished in the Sabine River despite the event being called the “Sabine River Challenge”. I think that will change with more anglers running as far north as they can to find pockets of fish that receive little pressure and perhaps a four or five-pounder to push them over the top.
• Bigger Turnout-Last year some 34,000 people attended the event which set a Bassmaster record for an Elite event.
It was broken a couple of weeks later in New York but I fully expect the 2015 tournament to draw 40,000 plus. The reason they are coming back is not for the stellar fishing because while we have lots of bass, everyone knows our fishery cannot compare to Toledo Bend for example.
The support from the public however was amazing and that is what is bringing the top anglers on the planet to fish our area.
We will have the very best coverage of the event beginning now and leading up to it with exclusive interviews with all of the top pros with not only their thoughts on the big event but with unique tips on how you can catch more fish.
It’s an exciting time and I look forward to bringing you special coverage on a special event.
(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 or watch him on “God’ Outdoors with Chester Moore” Saturdays at 10 a.m. on GETV.org)
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