I don’t remember when it started – maybe when I was 13 or so – but I used to have this fear that I wasn’t going to get my driver’s license. It wasn’t that I thought that I wouldn’t pass the test…no, I thought that I would never get my driver’s license. (You can image how upsetting this would be to a boy of that age!) I don’t know if I thought the world was going to end, or I was going to die before I turned 16 – I’m not sure what I was thinking really.
Looking back, this was obviously a very silly moment in my life. My fear was incredibly irrational, but it was genuine.
I thought of this irrational fear the other day as I was sitting in my treestand during an evening hunt. I was thinking about the future and wondering what hunting may look like in 20, 30, or 40 years. Would I still be hunting? Would I be able to raise my kids in a world where they could hunt? Is it an immature, irrational fear to think that hunting has seen its better days and that hunting, as we know it, may cease to exist in the not-too-distant future?
I don’t think the sky is falling. In fact, I’m really encouraged by many great things happening right now in the areas of hunting and conservation. There are some incredibly passionate people and dedicated organizations doing some amazing work to protect the future of hunting. What worries me, though, is that so many hunters still seem to have such a shortsighted, individualistic view of things.
We spend our money, time, and energy focused on our hunting…on what affects us specifically, individually. But we spend very little (if any!) money, time, or energy focused on the future of hunting as a whole.
The great conservation mind, Shane Mahoney, recently gave a wonderful speech at the Idaho Wildlife Summit. (I highly recommend that you set aside 50 minutes of your time to watch the video below. Seriously, make the time, come back here and do it!) In his speech, Mahoney said something that gets to the heart of the issue…
I want people to ask me – to explain to them how it is I can [hunt] – and how it has made me who I am, and how it has made me do the things I do for wildlife.
I want them to ask me that. And I want them to ask me, am I doing it humanely?
I am not afraid of people who have different viewpoints…but what I am desperately concerned about is the people who don’t care at all.
I would much sooner have a world filled with people who are so vitally concerned with wildlife that they fight all the time about it, than a world in which nobody gives a damn.
So the question to you is – do you really, truly “give a damn”? If so, what are you doing about it? How are you working to protect, strengthen, and ensure the future of hunting, not just for yourself, but for all?
Join me next week for a quick look at a few of the issues that are posing a threat to the future of hunting and some of the seemingly small, but significant things you can do about it.
Shane Mahoney at the Idaho Wildlife Summit
If you don’t see the video above, please watch it here.