Standing Tall

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As hunters and outdoorsmen and women we must stand tall above all others when it comes to conservation and the fight to make sure the outdoor activities we love will be here for our children and grandchildren.

Growing up “wild” as my mother called it afforded me the experiences and opportunities that are not common or even available to most. It seems I always had a critter of some sort rescued. Whether it was a Toad I had wrangled from the cat or a baby Possum from a roadkill mother I always seemed to have some kind of orphaned or rescued animal in my care even when I was honestly to young and inexperienced to really know what I was doing. What I did know is that even though I hunted and ate some of the same kinds of animals I was so bent on saving it just felt right. Growing up I had raccoons and even a pet Fox appropriately named “Red”.

Now That I am in my mid 40’s and have dedicated a lifetime to not only hunting and fishing along with everything in between I have an understanding that only a true outdoorsperson can understand. “STEWARDSHIP”, we must not only take what creation has given but we must give back. We must be the Sheppard’s of the flock so to speak. We must take care of the very animals and fish we love to hunt and catch. We can not and do not hunt because we hate the animals but because we love them and we want to see them thrive. Not to mention they are pretty delicious. A balance must be maintained and the understanding of that is something uniquely shared by the millions of men, women and children who take to the fields, woods, and water every year to hunt, fish, trap and otherwise enjoy the natural world no other place on Earth offers better than the state of Texas.

I have probably killed more deer than 90% of those reading this in my life but I have almost died saving fawns from mud pits and from busy HI ways. I as I type this have yet another orphaned fawn in my care as his mother was killed on a busy road when he was only days old. I feel it is something I owe. I firmly believe you can not keep taking and not ever give something back then expect that in which you took to remain capable or willing to continue to give.

So in your adventure afield give a little. Help a stranded turtle across a county road or put on your brakes for a mother Possum and her babies as they walk across the farm road. Even the smallest of gestures is a start. You don’t all have to rescue and rehabilitate wildlife as I do but you don’t have to turn a cold shoulder to it either. We all love the outdoors just as we love so many other things. Treat nature like you love it. Protect, nurture and help whenever possible and your children and their children’s children can be guaranteed the ability to enjoy and love as well. So stand tall when you are outdoors.

Story by Jeff Stewart

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