New outdoorsmen bring excitement to what we may take for granted
When I was younger, I used to marvel at older friends and family members who had lost their enthusiasm for hunting and fishing. Some were just going out less than they had in the past; others were giving up the pursuits altogether.
Their reasons for falling out of their outdoor ways were the usual ones you hear about anything: not enough time, not enough money, getting too old to put in the effort, have taken up another hobby that they enjoy more. The list goes on.
While I would sympathize with them, I couldn’t imagine ever losing my desire to hunt and fish as much as possible, as I prefer those passions over just about anything else in my life.
Then I got older.
I’d be a liar if I didn’t acknowledge that now, in my 50s, my enthusiasm has waned. I still love hunting and fishing, but I’ve noticed that it takes a bit more of a push to get me in the woods or on the water these days. Once I’m out there, of course, I’m always glad that I put in that effort. I enjoy a day outside immensely, and once out, I usually don’t want to quit and go home.
What can an old fogey like me do to help himself through something like this and become more willing to load up the truck or hook up the boat? Take out someone newer to the pursuit, no matter that person’s age.
Much is said about getting youth out into the field – and that is important, to be sure – but I’ve learned that it doesn’t matter how old a newbie is, the thrill we all feel when introduced to our outdoor pursuits is the same.
I’ve been hunting and fishing the past several years with a middle-aged guy who hadn’t hunted much in his youth. He started out deer hunting, but when we took him out for waterfowl, he fell for it all, decoy, line and sinker. He still loves his deer hunting, but given a choice, I think he’d go duck hunting.
Before the waterfowl seasons opened, this guy was on the phone with me for weeks, asking questions while getting his gear ready. With a fresh eye, he’s looking at aspects of the hunt that I may have been taking for granted for many years. He reminds me of college students with whom I hunted and fished for many years in my previous job. They were always ready to go.
But no matter the age of the partner, when you listen to someone who is newer to the outdoors than you are, they all sound as if their last trip out was the best one ever, no matter the weather or if the game bag or live well were full.
Here’s to those enthusiastic partners, who remind the older guys why we picked up a gun, fishing rod, or trap in the first place.