Our Nature Connection

Enjoying the privileges of fishing and hunting

The author's successful pheasant hunt

The author's successful pheasant hunt

During an afternoon trout-fishing trip this week, a friend reminded me that teenage girls -- not just boys -- deal with a dose of testosterone in their battle through adolescence. My friend told me his 13-year-old daughter had approached him the previous week and announced she needed to harvest some game.

Fish do count as game, of course, but there's something definitely more primal — for any human — about pursuing warm-blooded land animals. I haven't located any statistics yet, but I would bet that many SF readers agree. Many of you probably hunt when you're not fishing.

During the fall especially, you become torn between the opening of general-gun season or a robust duck forecast and that trip to pursue wahoo or sailfish near the Gulf Stream. In some places like Louisiana, you can combine your twin loves into a Cast and Blast trip, usually casting to redfish and blasting ducks.

All of that leads me to this Thanksgiving pronouncement: I'm thankful for fishing and hunting. What once was a life-sustaining necessity is now a privilege. I'm grateful for all the efforts by wildlife and fisheries biologists and conservation groups to identify and help restore struggling game populations. I'm grateful, too, for sportsmen who love these activities and contribute their time and money to maintain them.

I am among those sportsmen who donate to support our way of life. I also like to remain informed. Ever-greater numbers of anti-fishing and anti-hunting activists out there don’t just avoid the outdoor sports they hotly oppose them. Sometimes I wonder how these same people would react if we suggested that pet ownership is equivalent to animal servitude. Ludicrous, right?

Though we’ll never please all the people all the time, we can fight for what we consider our nature connection — on land and on the sea. Get active. Stay active. Now, excuse me while I go chase a few pheasants and catch a few trout.