ON OUTDOORS: Outdoors simplicity needs revisiting
Published 9:04 pm Wednesday, November 16, 2016
My father, the late Chester Moore, Sr. used to tell stories about hunting marsh hens (rails) with pellet guns in the marsh behind their home near the Port of Orange.
Without any camouflage, chest waders or modern gear they traversed the thick, treacherous marsh and enthusiastically bagged the fine tasting birds for their poor family to enjoy at the dinner table.
That was more than 60 years ago and times have changed dramatically but to me there is something beautiful about that story.
Young boys who had little made much of it in a vast marsh that to this day houses all kinds of wild creatures. They used to see jungle hunting movies at the nickel theater and dream of going to Africa. The marsh was as close as they could get and it made them quite happy.
I have hunted trophy whitetail in the South Texas Brush Country, waterfowl along the Canadian border, fished for peacock bass in the jungle of South America and caught seven foot long Wels catfish in Spain’s Segra River and it was all exciting. But I cannot say it was more fulfilling than the times me and my friends spent fishing for gar, grinnel and mud cats the gully down the street from my house.
Nor did it compare to when I first got my driver’s license and was able to take myself to a patch of woods in Newton County we had access to and squirrel hunt after school. Those were wonderful times and they are still available to us.
I love modern technology and have been blessed to use it at the very highest levels of the outdoors industry but there is a time to forsake and get back to our roots.
Instead of taking the bay boat out and going out to your favorite trophy trout wade fishing location, maybe grab some nightcrawler from the bait shop, make some cane poles with your kids and soak them under a red, white and blue bobber at the canal down from your house.
Take the time to fish for fishings sake and see what you will catch.
Instead of working as hard as you can and spending a fortune to shoot a massive trophy buck on a South Texas ranch, perhaps you should head up to the Sabine, Angelina or Crockett National Forests and see if you can take a legal-sized buck.
I guarantee in most circumstances it will be harder than bagging that South Texas monster.
This thought came to me as I sat on a deer stand on my lease west of Deweyville the day before I wrote this column. I had a buck come in about 200 yards down a fire lane and had to make a quick decision whether it made the 13-inch spread minimum. It did not. But that experience made me reflect on the fact outdoors challenges are relative to where we are hunting or fishing or maybe even how much many we have to spend.
The only difference between you and most hunting show hosts is the money and time to pay for these hunts. Never feel disqualified because you are hunting on public land only or have never taken a monster buck. Your outdoors exploits are just as important as anyone else.
We should be thankful for the seeing that doe and her fawns walking along the edge of the thicket and for the mallards we almost called into range.
We should celebrate every time we see a cork go under and certainly every fish caught and dove taken by our children. The outdoors industry as a whole has sold the idea that what you see on television and the Internet on hunting and fishing highlight reels is what we should aspire to becoming.
I would rather take the simple path like my Dad and his brothers and cousins did and head out to the woods simply to bring home something for supper. Maybe I will go back to that gully down the street this week and soak some dead shrimp or find that creek we used to squirrel hunt after school.
We need to revisit outdoors simplicity and once again become thankful for simply being out there.
(To contact Chester Moore, e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can hear him on “Moore Outdoors” Fridays from 6-7 on Newstalk AM 560 KLVI or online at www.klvi.com.)