My interest in the outdoors even began early, before I fished or hunted, it began at the Watertown Public Library, where I spent a lot of time, looking for books that contained Outdoor Adventures.
The ones I read and reread were by Jack London, Call of the Wild, White Fang and Sea Wolf, then as I got older, I looked for big game hunters and adventurers, reading several books by Ernest Hemmingway; the Old man of the Sea and others.
My adventures started in the cub and boy scouts and when I and several friends using my father’s WW2 knapsack along with flashlights, lunch and our BB guns hiked out to the radio tower hill along Hwy 81, which is now the location of Mount Marty University.
At that time, before anything was built on it, there were quite a few trees with squirrels and some underground passages we explored.
Being an angler and hunter has always been important to me and when I was younger, I never once thought that catching fish and hunting pheasants wasn’t right and the way things were in the “real” world!
Now days, we’re being bombarded with false statements in print as well as on the radio and TV, by individuals and groups that aren’t only anti-hunting, many are anti-meat and determined to bring us down
Much of it was misinformation; others small things, that were blown out of proportion while some were just outright lies!
Liberal organizations are trying to shut down those who support our gun rights, and doing there best to end hunting.
One of the hunter’s, our most supportive organizations, the National Rifle Association, located in New York has been sued by New York as well as others and forced to declare Chapter 11 Bankruptcy.
As America becomes more urbanized, our population becomes more detached from the real truth the facts!
As a youngster growing up in Watertown, South Dakota I knew where hamburger, pork chops and bacon came from and back then in the “Good Old Days” there was no organization or group that would have ever thought about the garbage that’s being put out about hunting and our gun rights.
No one I knew back then needed to be told where meat came from because we were close to the land not thousands of miles away from it in some huge city.
Unfortunately, today, there are many people on the east and west coast think these products come from the Affiliated Food Store or Hy-Vee.
While others seem to believe that they come from some fast-food chain like McDonalds or Hardees, what the Heck!
These are the same people when they hear that we’re going hunting, think that we’re doing something’s immoral!
When I went to school, history was my favorite subject and when we read about how America was settled and those that had to live off the land, needed to hunt in order to feed their families and was something that just needed to be done.
I know there are those in our country that are trying to change history and our given rights and I wonder if the new history books now days, even mention much of our original countries’ history?
If we those of us who enjoy the outdoors don’t get our rears in gear and help to protect our rights, not only will we lose our opportunity to hunt, we’ll lose our 2nd amendment rights to bear arms.
I think some of those individuals that belong to the anti-hunting organizations like “PETA”, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, may have seen to many Winnie the Pooh movies where the animals are best friends, running around having a good ole time playing together.
I’m sure you know what I’m referring to, an animated movie where the tiger and the piglet are best friends, now that’s a child’s fairy tale.
In the real world, they’d be friends, just about as long as it took the tiger to gulp down that goofy looking piglet.
One excellent example of those who have no clue, was this poor misinformed individual, who thought he knew everything about the animals in the wild, went up north to make friends with and live with the brown bears; he filmed them, talked with them and got up close and personal with them!
When I first heard that this was happening several years ago, I couldn’t believe it, who in their right mind would be stupid enough to go prancing around in an area filled with brown bears?
Bears, which are meat eaters are one of the largest and nastiest predators in North America!
I’m sure, they’re times when you can get close to bears when they “might” not bother you, like when there in a zoo in a cage!
There are times for example when the female is with her young, when the males are competing for females or when their hungry that you don’t want to be within miles of them.
He’d thought that he’d figured those bears and real wild world out, and was so confident he brought his girlfriend up to spend some time with his friends, the brown Grizzly bears.
His “friends” the bears killed and ate both he and his girlfriend.
One would think he’d have enough common sense to avoid dangerous animals, but obviously he didn’t.
Some feel that if we leave the wild animals alone, they’ll live happily ever after, Not So as their numbers will increase dramatically where they’ll destroy all their habitat and good old “Mother Nature” will take care of the excess numbers, by starving them to death.
I guess the real problem is that these types of people don’t know any better, they grew up in a big city watching Yogi and BOO BOO bear and have never been exposed to anything in the wild and they don’t have a clue to where things come from or what really happens in the wild!
The people we need to blame for them not knowing about hunting and all we do for wildlife and what happens in the wild are those of us that enjoy the outdoors You and I!
It’s those of us who hunt and fish, we haven’t done a decent job of promoting and explaining all that we do for the outdoors and our sport.
I know what you’re thinking! Great, just what I need another job!
Hey, it isn’t like that at all, we need to introduce and educate others to the sport of hunting and the outdoors.
Need to get out to show non-hunters and youth, to mentor and explain, if it wasn’t for hunters, who were the first conservationists; we wouldn’t have all the wildlife we today.
Let everyone know, that we hunters were the first to push for regulated seasons and to demand that they themselves and others hunted purchase hunting licenses in order to enjoy the sport of hunting.
Those license fees go to our state game agencies to fund programs, including the Hunter’s Safety Course with theses dollars not only benefiting hunters, but also those of you who also enjoy other outdoor-related experiences such as bird watching and hiking.
Activities such as these are done on areas that have been developed by our game agencies and the dollars to purchase and develop them came from no other than us hunters!
We’re also the ones that pushed for special taxes on our hunting gear and that this tax money would be distributed back to the states Game & Parks, Department of Natural Resources and Game Fish and Parks to fund these projects.
It’s also the hunting organizations, funded by hunters that have helped to bring back numerous wildlife populations that were at one time close to extinction because of unregulated commercial harvest and the loss of habitat.
At one time, the Wild turkey, Whitetail deer and Canada geese, as well as many others species that were on the brink of extinction and now all of these species can be found in huge numbers throughout North America.
One of the other reasons for this is because of the conservation groups, whose members are hunters that have stepped forward to help assure that wildlife will be there not just for themselves, but also for future generations.
These sportsmen’s conservation groups such as the National Wild Turkey Federation, Whitetails Unlimited and Ducks Unlimited banquets are just a few of the groups that have worked hard and long to establish habitat and helped to bring these animals back from near extinction.
When we attend these banquets, why not take a kid along, or several kids, and introduce them to these groups where they can have a good tine with the other kids that attend, win some prizes and enjoy a great meal.
These members, the hunters have donated millions of dollars and hours to create and develop new habitat for all species of wildlife.
It’s a fact that hunters are a very important part of the wildlife management plan, helping to harvest excess animals from the population, those excess animals that if not harvested will put undue pressure on the rest of the population.
To me, it’s hard to believe that there believe that if the animals are left alone that everything will work out, unfortunately, it’s not that way, because there’s only so much habitat (food, water and cover) in the world and once the wildlife numbers reach a certain point, they’ll literally eat themselves out of house and home.
Sure, “good” old Mother Nature will take care of it, but her way of doing this isn’t pretty and the word humane isn’t in her vocabulary.
As deer numbers get too high, she uses Blue Tongue to control the population, it’s a disease where the deer’s tongue swells up, dying a very cruel death because they can’t swallow, they’ll die of thirst.
What about waterfowl populations, when they get too high, she has uses Fowl Cholera to knock the population down, where waterfowl die by the thousands.
Then there’s Mange that affects the fur bearer population, animals afflicted with this ailment literally scratch themselves to death, ending up with no fur, no winter protection, freezing to death.
There are numerous other diseases and afflictions that good old “Mother Nature” dishes out when wildlife populations get too thick.
We hunters, need introduce kids to hunting, to be more vocal, to preach the gospel, the truth about all that hunters do for wildlife and what we do assure that future generations, both hunters and non-hunters alike will be able to enjoy wildlife and the sport of hunting.
Gary Howey is an award-winning writer, producer, and broadcaster and inducted into the "National Freshwater Fishing Hall of Fame" in 2017. He developed and was the Producer- Host of the Outdoorsmen Adventures television series for 23 years and the Host of the award-winning Outdoor Adventures radio program carried on Classic Hits 106.3, ESPN Sports Radio 1570 in Southeastern South Dakota, KWYR Country 93 AM and Magic 93 FM in Central South Dakota, As well as on KCHE 92.1 FM in Northwest Iowa. If you’re looking for more outdoor information, check out www.GaryHowey'soutdoors.com , and www.outdoorsmenadventures.com, with more information on these Facebook pages, Gary Howey, Gary E Howey, Outdoor Adventure Radio, Outdoorsmen Productions and Team Outdoorsmen Productions. The Outdoor Adventures television show is available on numerous Independent markets, and the MIDCO Sports Network.