‘Tis the season for resolutions. We’re going to start working out. We’re going to quit smoking, lose weight, eat more vegetables or otherwise reform ourselves to the ‘better.’
But let’s be honest. New Year resolutions are usually great goals but the key to success in actually keeping your resolutions is to be realistic. Instead of trying to dramatically alter your life, experts recommend setting more modest goals.
The same is true for the outdoors. If we have goals to preserve our hunting heritage, we must have realistic goals, and that means getting back to basics.
Youth are the Future
Like most sportsmen, I have fond memories of my childhood. We climbed trees, built secret forts, hunted small game and skipped stones across ponds.
But that’s not the case today. Our children are increasingly disconnected from nature by virtual worlds and video games, and we’re seeing the results in the industry as well as in our children’s overall health.
Hunting, fishing and other outdoor activities are proven to help children build character, become more self-reliant and help them avoid drugs and criminal behavior. It also teaches them a respect for the environment and helps preserve our American outdoor traditions.
So, this year, make a simple resolution to encourage children to get outside wherever they can, as often as they can. More importantly, show them the way.
Invite a Friend
We all love to hunt and fish. Every fall, we make a sacred pilgrimage to Cabela’s or Bass Pro Shops or our local outfitter and we buy the newest, latest greatest gear. Manufacturing sales figures seem to climb every year and we all sing praises as to how good the industry is. Yet, hunter participation continues to decline.
The most recent U.S. Census foretells a very grim future for sportsmen and our hunting heritage. It reports that within the households of sportsmen, only 25 percent of our children are active participants in the outdoors. Think about that. In our own outdoor-active families across the country, only 1/4 of our children are hunting…which means we’re losing 75 percent of our demographic base.
So, this year, make a resolution to invite a friend when you go hunting or fishing. Of course, it doesn’t have to be every trip. But occasionally sharing your love of hunting and fishing will help introduce the outdoors to new people.
Talk about the Outdoors
According to the North American Model of Wildlife Conservation, about three-quarters of Americans support hunting. One nationwide survey found that 77 percent of adult Americans approve of legal hunting, while 16 percent disapprove. But we would never know that from the lamestream media’s negative portrayal of sportsmen which we see every day.
So, this year make a resolution to talk about the outdoors. Tell people about all how sportsmen are the nation’s leading conservationists, and how the outdoors is beneficial for our youth. Tell them how hunting is the most successful wildlife management tool, and how hunters help feed hungry families across the country.
We are all part of a huge PR battle, and we need our side to be more vocal.
So, keep your New Year’s resolutions simple and let’s get back to basics on preserving our American hunting heritage.
Stand up for the outdoors,