Beauty of the Earth, fresh air, freedom from stress/work, the fun of shooting sports, chopping wood for the fire, the sound of a running creek/river
When did you first start hunting/fishing?
I had been hunting and fishing with my dad and brothers on occasion growing up and I always had an interest in both, but as a kid, I was dependent on others to take me with them. It wasn't until I was able to provide for myself, and able to get myself into the woods that I became a hunter. It was also important for me to provide that opportunity to my children an a young age, on a regular basis, because I know that I would have like to have gone camping/hunting/fishing a lot more as a kid. It is a hobby/sport that has strengthened my relationship with my children.
What is one of your most memorable outdoor moments?
There are many, but the those most memorable are hunting trips. It could be my first Buck or Bull Elk, camping with my buddies, fishing alpine lakes, etc., all of which I will always remember. But most memorable will always be the time my son Jacob thanked me, as we were hunting this past Deer season, for always taking him with me. He is 30-years-old now and a very successful hunter. He has been going with me since he was 10. That was a special moment for me.
Okay, one more... My son Dillon and I were sitting against a large Pine tree on a ridge line overlooking hundreds of miles of land. We had just finished a walk through a thick forested area where we were hunting Elk. I had been blowing my Cow Elk call as we sat enjoying the view. After about half an hour, we decided to hunt our way back to the truck where we would have some lunch. As we got up, I saw movement to my left (Dillon was on my right), so I turned, only to see a Mountain Lion running at me at full speed toward us. It put on the brakes (realizing I wasn't an Elk), and kicked up dirt and debris on me, as he turned and ran into the woods. It was about five feet from me when it turned. Needless to say, the hairs on the back of my neck were on end, my hands were shaking, and adrenaline was pumping. Dillon asked me, what was that? I answered, a Mountain Lion. He was confused. Here? he asked. He never saw it. That was the only time I have ever seen a Mountain Lion in the woods. It was an awesome sight. I can only assume that I called it in with my Cow calls. It is experiences like these that make it worth being in the woods.
What is your favorite animal to hunt?
I hunt Deer and Elk, with Elk being my favorite.
Why do you think hunting/fishing is important in today's modern age?
In the modern age, science has played a huge role in our stewardship, as humans, to take care of animal populations. Managing and taking care of them is our responsibility. As a result, not only are our livestock herds thriving, but also game animal populations are flourishing. I appreciate being able to go into the woods and see these magnificent animals. I enjoy taking a break from the day-to-day activities and being able to "wet a line" or follow a game trail. Being able to "reset" my mind and attitude help me to be better at the day-to-day activities required of us in this modern age. In addition, I think it is important to have hunting and fishing skills to be able to provide for yourself and family. It is important to pass these skills on to our children, and gives us opportunities to connect with our parents and grandparents.
What is something you would like to share with non-hunters out there?
There are non-hunters who are not opposed to hunting (my daughter and wife), and there are non-hunters who protest hunting, gun ownership, etc. To those not opposed to hunting, I think we have an understanding that most humans eat meat. And in this modern age of healthy living, game meat is much more nutritious than animals raised specifically for their meat, injected with hormones and other additives in an effort to grow them at an accelerated rate, all in the name of profits. To those opposed to hunting, herd management includes controlling the population so that herds do not over graze their habitat, affording the stronger animals to procreate, strengthening the population. Additionally, millions of dollars are collected from hunters/fishermen, which in turn fund programs for the betterment of our wildlife resources. I do not kill for the enjoyment of killing. I kill for good, nutritious meat, which feeds my family.
Any final thoughts you would like to share with our readers?
Be wise, be safe, take care of your equipment, and have fun.