Give the gift of the outdoors

Merry Christmas!

Gifts have been a huge part of the discussion around the country for the last month.

There always seems to be much talk about “gifts that keep on giving” but most do not. They fade away and are forgotten in short order.

Time is one such gift that does keep on giving, especially time spent outdoors.

Going into 2013, I challenge you to spend time with outdoors in the great outdoors whether fishing, hunting or simply just being there.

Looking back on my life, it is evident time spent outdoors with my family and friends was crucial in not only setting me on a path that has me writing this column but also have a deep passion for all things wildlife.

To this day, I research wolves and seek them out not only in the wild but also in zoos and sanctuaries because of an incredible encounter with them in the Gilbert Woods near Fannett when I was nine years old.

My Dad took me on my first deer hunt where I actually got to shoot a deer if we saw one and on the way in that morning a wolf pack started howling very close to us.

At first I was scared but that quickly turned to fascination and in reality it never died. I am just as fascinated about wolves and wildlife as I was in that moment.

Kids are not going to have that passion for the outdoors or perhaps even to go outside if they are not given a chance to experience it. All of the electronic wonders of the modern age are incredibly seducing and while they offer plenty of fun and work advantages for adults, they can help make kids lazy and unappreciative of nature.

However, if you get them outside when they are little and let them catch a fish or get a glimpse of a big whitetail buck or huge flock of snow geese something resonates with them. The outdoors becomes too exciting to completely ignore.

Time outdoors should also be invested in adults.

How many of you have senior parents or relatives that do not have the means or perhaps connections to go fishing, hunting or wildlife viewing?

Most seniors in our area grew up in the outdoors but perhaps have lost their fishing friends over time or do not feel comfortable going alone. Offer to take them out and let them know you appreciate them paving the way for you.

Our friends at work and in our neighborhoods are also primate candidates for an outdoors blessing.

Putting someone on their first big fish or taking them hunting for the first time is a great way to build friendships and to give something meaningful to others.

Giving is truly a wonderful thing and it is not something restricted by a date on a calendar but it can become a lifestyle.

In 2013 give time outdoors to others and you will be amazed to see the impact that it makes.

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