Every year about this time, people start to wonder if they will stick to their resolutions. Dieting and exercise does not seem like such a good idea. If it were summertime and we could get outside, sure. But who wants to hit the neighborhood streets for a walk when the temperatures are regularly dipping below zero? And salad certainly does nothing to keep away the winter chill. So, the way I see it, it is best to make resolutions that are easy to stick to, but that also mean something to someone.
Years ago, TakeMeFishing.org started a campaign to take a person who had not been introduced to the sport of fishing out on a lake. It was called the Anglers Legacy Pledge. They even had printable gift certificates an angler could give to a friend, neighbor or family member that would entitle them to a fishing trip at some point during the year. I thought it was an awesome program - but it has since been discontinued. That does not mean it was a bad idea. I think it was a great idea. Why not introduce someone to the outdoor sports we love? Being an outdoorsman is more than just a hobby. It is learning one's place in the world and becoming a steward of the land and water on which we live and play. I do not think there is a better gift than that.
I saw this in full force at the Northwoods Youth Deer Hunt Challenge banquet last weekend. Hundreds of parents and even older siblings brought new youth into the sport of deer hunting. The banquet celebrated the dedication and hard work, not only of the youth hunter, but also of the mentors who helped them learn about safe gun handling, how to use a deer call, the habits of their quarry and the many other things they need to know to be successful in deer hunting.
Passing on the love of the outdoors in general is something in which I am a firm believer, and I also think it makes a great resolution. Whether one resolves to introduce a youth to an outdoor hobby, or simply a co-worker or neighbor who has not had the chance to get into the outdoors, I do not think there is a better resolution.
The DNR has Learn to Hunt programs that can help, too. The details of these classes can be found on the DNR website. There are Learn to Hunt turkey classes, bear classes, and just about everything in between. These classes are open to anyone who has never had a license to hunt that given animal and they are a great way to learn about hunting from people with years of experience. With the move toward healthier eating and sustainable food supplies, more people are turning to hunting as a food source. Wild game is free of antibiotics, artificial hormones and most are quite lean in comparison to the meat we find in the store.
Whether our love of the outdoors entails hunting or fishing, kayaking or hiking, resolving to introduce just one more person to the outdoors will go a long way.
They may pass that on to others as well. If every sportsman were able to pass their knowledge on to just one other person, imagine how many people would develop a love of the outdoors, too.
Beckie Gaskill may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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