The Outdoors is About Family – Don’t Can It!

I have often both written and spoken about the importance of spending time with your family in the outdoors. One of my favorite springtime and summer activities is going down to Brushy Creek Lake Park in north Cedar Park here in Central Texas with my son, Jackson, and go “perch jerkin'”. Finding a feisty nest of bluegill is a blast and provides hours of family fun with no more than an ultra light fishing rig and a canister of baby night crawlers. Here are some pictures from our latest adventure down at the lake last weekend:

Now these may not be trophy bass or monster catfish but the memories we make together are priceless. So many outdoorsmen I run into are all about hunting and fishing for their own means and desires. There is an old saying I heard from Korby Taylor of the Wild Game Hunting Podcast in one of his recent past shows. He was making the point of our sometimes selfish nature as outdoorsmen. The saying goes something like this:  “Get all you can. Can all you get. Then, sit on the lid.” Korby used this illustration to say that “canning” and not sharing all of our experiences in the outdoors, keeping them all for our own self interest, is shallow but many men and women are happy to do it. Hunting and fishing is a means to and end for them. I don’t see it like that.

I write and speak often about the next generation of outdoor enthusiasts needing the best possible examples of outdoor “champions” who model what it really means to live a positive outdoor lifestyle. There are more things than ever that compete for our kid’s time and attention in our world today. We need to teach values, conservation, good ethics, and other positive character traits in the outdoors in order for kids to “get hooked” on what so many of us older folks consider a life long passion of the outdoors.

I know it is easy to get caught up in who won the big money pot at the local bass tournament or who shot the biggest deer of their lifetime last season but if we don’t take time to share what went into making our love of the outdoors such a passion for us with the next generation of sportsmen, our youth will quickly get swept away from our sporting traditions we hold dear to our hearts. In order for the heritage of our sport to survive the changing times and atmosphere of our frantically paced world is to take time to share the gift of the outdoors.

I am thrilled to hear about hunting and fishing champions in our world who give outdoor experiences to kids that might not normally have them. One of my fondest memories when I was growing up was when my Dad and his fishing partner participated in a promotion with a local Texas Boys Town and took a young man our fishing on the boat with us. I will never forget how much that young man, who was about my same age at the time, enjoyed learning how to fish. We all had so much fun together. I am sure that young man, where ever he is today, will never forget that experience. I know that I won’t. That is giving back with a generous heart. That is what outdoors is all about.

In my advertising work with Texas Fish & Game magazine, I came across a new company with a portable fishing sonar system that connects to your smartphone or tablet called Deeper. It is a really revolutionary fishing product and I think it will catch on here in the USA, especially for those of us who do not have a fancy boat and maybe prefer bank fishing on many occasions. In working with this company on their ad campaign, they sent over a video that really touched me. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did:

The outdoors is about family and also about sharing our passion with others who will carry the proverbial torch into the future and preserve our legacy of the outdoor realm. There is so much beauty to behold, so much land and water yet to explore. There is so much “out there” yet to be discovered. Thank you so much for watching, reading, and listening.