There are a variety of Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks programs designed to recruit new hunters and anglers. All efforts are in response to a declining trend in the number of Kansans who purchase hunting and fishing licenses, as well as the desire to see our outdoor heritage passed on. But the positive impact of teaching youngsters about the outdoors may go much deeper than merely passing on a heritage.

Friday, February 15, 2013

What Would I Have Missed?


I’ve written extensively about how fortunate I am to have the hunting experiences I’ve had. I know that hunting with my father and granddad shaped who I’ve become as a person, what I do for a living and where I live. But, while looking at a picture from a recent hunt the other day, I wondered what I would have missed without hunting in my life..
I know plenty of kids who have great relationships with their parents and grandparents without going hunting. I will assert, though, that I think spending time with kids one-on-one teaching them to hunt and fish is a great way to build solid relationships; it may not be the only way, but it might be one of the best. But what would I have missed with those hunting experiences.
I would have never felt my heartbeat surge when a rooster pheasant flushed at my feet. I wouldn’t have seen the gleam in my granddad’s eye when he bragged about the shot I made on a pheasant. I would have never known the incredible anticipation of approaching a Brittany on point.
And those are just the very beginning. I could go on and on, but the point is that I can’t imagine my life without those experiences that have become indelible memories. Every year, I look forward to adding a few more. Of course things change, people come and go in our lives, but hunting still gives me optimism for the coming year.
Hunting is about relationships, passing on a treasured heritage, and sharing experiences that stay with us for life. Without the experiences of hunting with my family, friends and cherished dogs, my life would have been  – well I don’t even want to think about it. Never underestimate the power of passing it on.

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