Pat yourself on the back, you lucky duck. You’re living among Nature’s riches.
Christmas reminds us of the joys and blessings in our lives, a couple of them being our incredible rich, stimulating, sustaining natural world — and our freedom to interact with it.
As hunters here in the U.S.A. we enjoy the fruits of our conservation labors. Geese cleaving a winter sky. Deer tip toeing from the woods to steal our backyard bird seed. Elk streaming in long lines down the snowy mountains. Mink loping the banks of stony trout streams. Wood ducks squealing from the branches of a red crabapple tree. Ours is a rich cornucopia of life. Wild, hot, colorful, swarming, thriving, self-perpetuating, wild life.
Thanks to conservation programs and practices initiated by concerned hunters slightly more than 100 years ago, we reap the largess of Nature’s annual production. Deer, elk, bear, grouse, geese, and beautiful ducks are just a few of the inspiring, joyful products of sustainable conservation programs. These programs are funded by hunting licenses, gun and ammo taxes and volunteer contributions to groups like Ducks Unlimited, Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation, Pheasants Forever and so many more.
I probably trumpet this too often, but only because our National Media ignores it nearly all the time. But you know better. Hunters — legal, ethical, concerned conservation hunters — are the reason North American wildlife thrives. It is essential that hunters and non-hunters understand this, so bone up on the facts and report them. Proudly. Sport hunters are, truly, the major force for wildlife in North America.
But don’t get tied in knots over political wrangling. Bad news will haunt us always. Threats will loom. Battles will rage. We must step away from time to time to renew our spirits and remember our blessings, and we still have plenty of them. At this very moment there could be a glowing ember of Nature’s eternal gifts flitting past your window. There could be a weasel in your wood pile or a wood duck in your apple tree.
This Christmas — and throughout 2018 — get out with friends and family to celebrate the natural bounty you’ve helped produce. Fish, hunt, camp, hike, boat, photograph, watch, smell, and soak it all in. This land is your land. Celebrate it. Indulge your hard earned freedom to enjoy the wild life. You lucky ducks.
With each passing season lifelong outdoorsman Ron Spomer appreciates his place in the Natural world more intensely. And he wishes for his readers all the joy they can find in their own outdoor lives.