Sept. 22 was the 265th day of the year. There are fewer than 100 days remaining of 2007. It was the last day of the summer season in the Northern Hemisphere.
Fall officially begins on Saturday, Sept. 22 and if recent weather, water temperatures and the increasingly, colorful foliage can be considered a gauge; it appears to be right on time.
Accordingly, Sept. 22 also happens to be the date of the 35th Annual National Hunting and Fishing Day. First established in 1972 National Hunting and Fishing Day is intended to celebrate sportsmen and women, and recognize their role in fostering conservation and the scientific management of natural resources.
It is very interesting to find that in this modern day and age of cyberspace and instant communications that a majority of American citizens still support the traditional bait-and-bullet pursuits of hunting and fishing. So much for political correctness! Give me a fishing rod and a rifle, and Ill be content!
However, while outdoor pursuits such as hunting and fishing remain a cherished heritage across the North Country, it is surprising to find that these same activities continue to be well accepted nationwide.
A recent nationwide survey conducted by Responsive Management of Harrisonburg, VA, found that support for hunting and fishing has remained strong over the past decade, with approximately every 3 out of 4 Americans approving of legal hunting and more than 9 out of 10 approving of recreational fishing.
Americans have become more knowledgeable about the role of hunting in wildlife management. They have also begun to recognize the contributions of hunting- and fishing-license sales in respect to fish and wildlife conservation efforts.
Steve Williams, current president of the Wildlife Management Institute and former director of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, noted, Sportsmen are essential to wildlife protection and management. Game management programs, which are funded by sportsmens dollars, have brought back numerous wildlife species. In addition, sportsmens dollars have purchased and managed millions of acres of fish and wildlife habitat, benefiting all fish and wildlife species and the public who enjoy them.
The gift of hunting or fishing is still something special and those who don't participate may never even know what theyre missing, unless those of us who do participate take the opportunity to share it.
Currently, efforts to bring new sportsmen, women and especially youth into the fold is one of the most pressing issues in the field of resource protection. The lack of new blood in the traditional outdoor sports is a looming crisis in conservation education. Experts have identified the need to cultivate the next generation of environmental stewards.
Corky Pugh, Director of Alabamas Fish and Wildlife Department, explains that as a result of dwindling sales in hunting, fishing and trapping licen-ses, the revenue stream is drying up!
Essentially, we are selling nature, Pugh suggests. And we have to do a better job of cultivating the next generation of customers.
Todays children are tomorrows hunters, anglers, hikers and boaters. They will set the policies. They will identify what is important. They will vote, Pugh continued We must change our priorities, for there is not a deer, fish or turkey that ever bought a license or voted. We must engage young people in ways that resonate with them.
Despite the allure of a multitude of modern electronic attractions, there remains inside every person an innate need for the natural world. There is a component of our human essence that requires such exposure according to Edward O. Wilson, a Harvard University entomologist, who coined the term "biophilia," which refers to humans' "love of living things," our innate affinity with the natural world.
The theory holds that humans are hard wired with a need to have close contact with the natural environment as a result of eons of our development as hunter-gatherers. Modern medicine is just now discovering how these processes affect our everyday lives.
In fact research findings are supportive of the proposition that nature has some inherently positive effects on physical and psychological well-being for humans.
The hunting season for ruffed grouse season opened on Sept. 20 and trout season ends on Oct. 15.
Take the opportunity to get out with a friendor better yet, a friend and his kidand spend a day outdoors, hunting or hiking, paddling or fishing. It is up to the people that currently pursue these outdoor sports to ensure that they remain viable options for future outdoor adventurers. Remember back when there was someone who took the time to introduce you!