As you might already know, I do a lot in the outdoor industry. In my work in this realm, I notice so many hunters and fishermen who get caught up in the “trophy experience” and lose sight of what brought them to the outdoors in the first place. This is an easy trap to fall in to and I have even been there before myself. Its hard not to desire the trophy bucks and bulls or the giant bass and catfish, just to name a few love affairs. I’m not saying we should not strive after these things at all but, instead, that is shouldn’t be our entire focus.
I am proud to say I shot one of the biggest deer of my life this season but that is not why I hunt. Last December and this past January I helped land 45 pound catfish while fishing Lake Conroe but that is not why I fish. I just love the outdoors. Most of us entered into our outdoor pursuits strictly for the love of the outdoors without getting caught in all the hype of hunting and fishing for the biggest and the best. We can’t send the message to our youth that hunting and fishing for the monsters of the field and water is the sole reason as to why we do what we do. They have to have the same appreciation of the outdoors as we do as adults for our industry to survive. They have to feel what we feel as outdoorsmen for them to grow and prosper in this heritage. Many outdoorsmen, young and old alike, are concerned with the decline of youth entering the outdoor sports. If we make the biggest and best fish and game the only thing that is important and lose sight of loving the outdoors first, we might indeed have a problem. So many people in our industry talk about taking kids fishing or hunting but we all have to embrace this ourselves for it to really leave a mark on our future outdoorsmen and women.
Remember the rush of the first time you were in front of wild game while you remained undetected? I especially get an adrenaline boost from bowhunting 20 yards or less away from Whitetail deer. Remember the feeling of setting the hook on and reeling in your first fish? Some may laugh but I still enjoy fishing for bluegill, usually with my son, these days. The action is fast and fun! We sometimes quickly forget these kinds of experiences in the name of going after something bigger and better. My point is that we should enjoy the journey and take in all that the outdoors has to offer. Step back and relax in the outdoors. Take it all in and don’t get caught up in the trophy hype. That’s not what it’s all about. It’s God’s country after all and there is so much to appreciate about it. A trophy is in the eye of the beholder after all. We should enjoy this journey into the outdoors and celebrate every part of it and let those around us, outdoorsmen and women or not, experience our passion as well.