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Tuesday, December 31, 2013

I know it's been a LONG time since I have been in the Blogosphere. I decided to go to college back in 2011 and I will be in my last semester starting in January. WOOHOO! I will walk across the stage in May with a BS in Economics...GO FIGURE! Economics? I spent 30 years in the Navy as an electronics specialist and leader. Can you say C U R V E  B A L L? What a great country we live in! In my spare time I am writer for my local newspaper where I pen a monthly "Sportsman's Corner." Nothing game changing, just my ramblings and frustrations as a hunter and fisherman here in East-Central Kansas. So, I thought I'd share my January piece with all of you.

Happy New Year to all! Once again we embark on a new year of hunting, fishing and other outdoor adventures. All of our schedules are chock full of hectic, frenetic stuff and sometimes we actually get the time to enjoy the outdoors. No doubt it is always best when we get to share it with those we care about, whether friends or family. How will you enjoy the outdoors this year? Have you sat down and thought about how you will get out and what your goals will be for the New Year? What will you do different this year that takes you out of your comfort zone? Will you take up bowhunting, buy a new shotgun, try fly fishing for the first time, or will you decide to hike somewhere you've never explored before?

I will be the first to tell you to be realistic in your goals. Setting improbable and impossible goals does nothing for your psyche and isn’t being in the outdoors supposed to be about helping with your peace of mind and vitality of spirit? Any hunter or fisherman who says they don’t have the dream of a 12-pointer walking under their treestand or catching a state record fish is fibbing…me included. Hunting and fishing is sometimes frustrating and often disappointing when you don’t reel in a lunker or take down a trophy, but being in the wide open spaces is rewarding in other ways too.

Where else can you perch yourself 20 feet in the air for hours at a time, sitting on a hard 6”x4” foam covered seat, on a platform that is strapped to a tree that is swaying in the wind, waiting for dinner to walk close enough to you to skewer it with your trusty bow & arrow? OR Where else do you use a 5 gallon bucket to sit next to a fishing rod that has the stinkiest glob of goo and guts you can find as bait, to catch the ugliest fish in the water? We are not demented, we are not addled, we are not insane…we are hopeful!

We also find those hours to be some of the most peaceful times in our adventuresome lives. Free from work, free from school and free from the worries of which channel to watch or app to download. In those hours we can contemplate the wonders around us, always mindful that the world that we normally inhabit is just over the hill and not too far away. Most of the time though, we are listening, watching and anticipating the big strike or huge antlers walking out of the brush so we can spring into action. Unfortunately, I have more time to contemplate the world’s problems than I care to have since I have not had the good fortune to spy those big antlers this year…yet (it’s December 26th). Still a few days to go.

Whatever you decide about what you plan to do in 2014, please feel fortunate to live in a country where these freedoms are not impinged upon. Where you have the freedom to walk and travel where you want, tote the firearm you desire and shoot the game you pursue. As a veteran, I wish to thank those men and women of our military on the pointy end of the spear this time of year. I spent a few of them out there too and know the sacrifices they make for the freedoms I mentioned. To my fellow outdoor adventurers, I wish you health, wealth and abundant harvests in 2014. Stay safe!

To those who follow my blog, I wish you all of the above also. If you are a blogger, I wish you inspiration and enlightened thought. Cheers and Happy New Year!