MOORE OUTDOORS: Without wildlife, no fishing or hunting
We have a niche society where people through social media attain their self-identity through their very specific recreational endeavors.
There are fan pages, e-newsletters, smart phone apps and organizations dedicated to virtually every outdoors pursuit.
People are no longer just anglers but “topwater specialists” or “ocean kayakers” or “flats fishermen”.
The title of hunter has become passé and we now have “traditional bowhunters”, “hunter/survivalists”, “duck men” and way too many kids referring to deer by their Boone & Crockett score.
None of this is wrong from a moral standpoint, but we are a long way down a dangerous road of taking the focus off wildlife. The reason there are bass tournaments is because of … bass. And the deer hunting industry would be obsolete without deer.
This may seem elementary, but the fact is we are raising a generation that in many ways does not get that because the idea of being a complete outdoors person has been lost.
I am amazed how many saltwater anglers under the age of 30 have never caught a bass. Ditto for duck hunters who have never been deer hunting or deer hunters who cannot identify animals like ringtails and badgers.
Now instead of seeing a full hunting video or television program we can just watch the highlight reel and we are becoming programmed to live for the kill shot. The actual encounter with the duck or speckled trout is usurped by the ability to enhance social status by creating a self-highlight reel.
If we continue down the road of allowing the technology and gadgets to be the focus, they will eventually become so alluring and so far advanced, kids will opt for air-conditioned, tech-based comfort with instant results instead of hitting the field at all.
The same kids, however, if challenged to learn about wildlife and ecology at a young age, can get hooked on the outdoors lifestyle and be valuable stewards of our great resources. By getting them on deer hunts, duck hunts and fishing trips at young ages and allowing them to see a truly wild creature in person, we give them something that will stay with them forever.
If they care about the creatures, they will care about the land, and if they are taught that hunting and fishing are a valuable part of keeping this cycle going, then they are less apt to be influenced by those opposed to fishing and hunting.
And they will be far more willing to get involved with habitat conservation and take up the cause of being good stewards of our wildlife resources.
There has to be a next generation that takes over Ducks Unlimited, Delta Waterfowl, Coastal Conservation Association, Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation and other conservation interests.
And we have a big role in helping create that generation by not only taking kids into the field but teaching them to appreciate the resources and not just enjoy the killing shot but the pursuit.
It truly is up to us, and we are entering the best season of all for taking young people afield. Fall is coming soon with cooler temperatures and hunting and fishing opportunities galore.
Let’s make the best of it and take some young people afield.
To contact Chester Moore, email him at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can hear him on “Moore Outdoors” Fridays from 6-7 p.m. on Newstalk AM 560 KLVI and online at www.klvi.com.