This Saturday is cause for celebration because it is designated as our National Hunting and Fishing Day to honor and pay tribute to our outdoors heritage as well as our carefully preserved and managed opportunities to hunt and fish. It is a day to enjoy time outdoors and introduce others to that rich and rewarding experience.
I was blessed because I was raised by parents who both grew up learning the values and skills of going out and taking their own meals. They showed me and my siblings that a fresh game dinner can be many times fresher and tastier than any store-bought piece of meat.
I grew up hunting and fishing, and I’ve spent much of my adult life as a fishing captain, and I can assure you that a fresh fish dinner — caught that same day — is an order of magnitude tastier than any fish I ever bought at a store. The same goes for freshly taken game from our back country.
Our game animals and game fish are carefully managed, and hunting/fishing is very carefully calculated into the management formulas that maintain a balance of game that satisfies the needs of predatory critters and hunters/fishers and also those who enjoy going out (or underwater) to photograph or just view wild game.
Despite the wild “sky is falling” claims by those who want to create and then financially benefit from no-take zones, or eliminate hunting or fishing altogether, our game populations are closely monitored and maintained. This is paid for by license and special tags monies paid for by hunters and fishers. We are the ones who have always paid money for the management efforts, and the only gain we hope for is the chance to bring up our kids and grandkids to learn and experience the great outdoors, a savory fresh game or fish dinner, and telling hunting/fishing stories around a campfire as so many have done for so many generations before us. This creates closer-knit family units and cements friendships.
Saturday is a day designated to celebrate this wonderful heritage and serves as an opportunity for youngsters to learn about an outdoor world that seems increasingly more removed from our everyday lifestyles. By these activities, kids learn about how the natural order really works, which is important to counter the jaded view left by cute and adorable but gravely misleading movies such as Bambi and Finding Nemo.
Kids deserve the truth about the natural order and our place in it. It makes them the real stewards of our outdoor places and of the critters. It gives them the conviction to put their own hard-earned money into the management effort by buying hunting and fishing licenses.
It is a win-win situation worthy of celebrating, so I offer a toast (holding up my glass of water) to National Hunting and Fishing Day.
— Capt. David Bacon operates WaveWalker Charters and is president of SOFTIN Inc., a nonprofit organization providing seafaring opportunities for those in need. Visit softininc.blogspot.com to learn more about the organization and how you can help.