Face it- We Need to be Outdoors
Over the past several years there has been a resurgence to become involved in some form of outdoor activity. People are realizing it’s healthy, physically and mentally. Being confined within four stale walls just doesn’t cut it anymore.
Activities like casual hiking, camping and biking continue to grow. But some of the largest expansions in involvement have occurred in the traditional, consumptive activities of hunting and fishing.
A three year study commissioned by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service concluded that 73 percent of all Americans would like to take part in some type of hunting and 84 percent believed it should remain a legal activity.
“When it comes to fishing,” as one researcher put it, “almost all of us would go if given the right opportunity.” For those who wouldn’t, I feel sorry for you.
But why the increase in participants or those who would like to go? Maybe it’s because people are realizing these types of endeavors provide us with a more full and wholesome life, not necessarily a different one.
When we play baseball, football, basketball or dozens of other active sports, we are acquiring needed physical activity, as well as drawing on our inner-rooted competitive nature. When we pursue game or fish, we still draw our head, hands and feet into harmony and satisfy a primordial instinct that goes back even farther.
It has been proven those special times we are allowed to ply the woodlots or water help keep us productive in our regular day-to-day lives. During times spent outdoors we follow the deliberate rhythms of ourselves and nature, not those of classrooms, factories or offices, which for the majority of our lives, impart their rhythms on us. Unlike earlier times, we hunt and fish because we want to, not because we have to.
Not only has the overall number of sportspeople grown, we have also become much more efficient in our means and methods. Let’s face it, increasing technologies and easily accessible information has made us much better at what we do. Almost every piece of outdoor equipment has seen some type of advancement. It wasn’t that long ago we couldn’t have fathomed using GPS guided trolling motors or down viewing sonar. How about bows capable of spitting out arrows almost as fast as a beam of light? When you stop to think, almost every conceivable piece of outdoor gear has seen some type of notable improvement.
Today’s participants are also much more educated. The thousands who frequent specialized hunting seminars or fishing clinics are testament to that. It has become more direct than just “drowning a worm,” or “beating the brush.”
aModern sportspeople are more knowledgeable and make it a point to learn as much as possible on the activity they choose. Habitat, structure, food source and behavior can be heard in almost any conversation.
But, think about this for a moment. In order for these types of consumptive outdoor activities to continue to survive on our increasingly pressured resources, several avenues must be met.
First and foremost, we must distinguish ourselves above the unethical who mistakenly think of themselves as sportspeople. Second, we must conserve what already exists. Phrases like “Limit your take, don’t take your limit,” and “take some feed, leave some seed,” have become popular buzzwords among conscientious outdoor groups.
Times change and so should we. Anyone who thinks we can maintain the same standards as yesteryear is living in a dream world. With an attitude of respect and a mindset on conservation, these outdoor activities will continue to enrich the lives of those who choose to enjoy them!