That’s right, “WITH,” as in together. “With” is the most important word in your entire outdoor vocabulary. Try to tell a few hunting or fishing stories without using it. Listen to anybody exaggerate the size of a fish that got away, a buck that magically escaped their deadly eye, or describe the misadventures of their illustrious hunting careers. They won’t get far into their stories without it. You’ll find that there was almost always someone else there with them.
Our fondest hunting and fishing memories are forever etched in our minds based upon those who shared those special times with us. The size of the bass may get a little foggy after a few years (generally in an upward direction) but we never forget who netted him into the boat. Remember those drowsy predawn drives to the lake to catch the bream at sunrise, the lazy evenings at the deer club spent peeling potatoes, tenderizing the venison steaks and planning tomorrow’s hunt. There were always others there with you. Your hunting partners listened with interest to your “astute” wildlife observations. They verified your stories, or ruined your credibility altogether. But they were always there smiling with you.
Who first took you fishing or hunting, your father, uncle, grandfather? Would you be a hunter if your father hadn’t cared about hunting? Would you love fishing so much if he hadn’t spent all those years baiting your hook and getting you unhung from snag after snag rather than fishing himself? If you’re a lover of the outdoors, you probably owe someone out there a debt of gratitude. Somebody let you in on something very special, a heritage spanning the generations, a brotherhood of outdoors men who, like you, still stand in awe of the beauty of God’s creation.
A successful hunt or fishing trip should never be measured by the size of the kill or the weight of the stringer, but the quality of a day shared with family and friends in the outdoors. The only disappointments you should ever feel after a hunt are those times when no one is with you to see the covey rise or deer that jumps the road.
If hunting or fishing has become a numbers game to you, you’re missing something. If the fishing isn’t good enough to suit you or the deer aren’t heavy enough then something has gone wrong. Show me a small child who doesn’t smile ear to ear when they catch the tiniest of bream. Kids have the right idea. They’re just happy someone took the time to take them fishing at all. If your hunting stories don’t include frequent references to, “Remember when . . . ” then you’ve been hunting by yourself way too much.
There are so many people out there who’d love to go hunting or fishing but don’t know where to go and how to get started. Whom have you introduced to the outdoors? I’ll bet you have a nephew or niece, cousin or friend who’d love to go fishing with you. What greater gift could you give someone who’s never been fishing than to take him or her with you to your favorite fishing hole.
It’s been well documented that the number of fishermen and hunters is on the decline. Every day, our precious forests are disappearing acre by acre as city suburbs expand and our population increases. Of course, the problem with land is that they’re not making any more of it. We have to take care of what we have. To protect our precious outdoors, we need all the dedicated outdoor lovers we can get.
When we divide ourselves on issues like length of seasons, slot limits, dog hunting versus still hunting, we weaken ourselves. Everyone enjoys the outdoors in different ways. The thing we all have in common is our love of the outdoors and the need to work “with” each other to preserve the outdoor opportunities we have for our children.
They say you get out of life what you put into it. Ask yourself whether you’ve given as much as you’ve taken from the outdoors? Somebody did you a big favor when they showed you how to hunt and fish. Why not give something back by showing someone else the outdoors through your eyes. Take someone hunting on your property or at your club. Let someone take their kids fishing in your pond or lake. Let their first outdoor tale include your name right after the most important line in the whole story – “I’ll never forget the time I was fishing with ….”
If you own property, don’t let the fear of liability and lawsuits prevent you from sharing your precious property with your friends and family. Let us help you structure commonsense hurdles to limit your liability exposure for injuries on your property. LLCs, liability waivers, liability insurance, well drawn hunting leases with hold harmless and indemnity provisions, and just common sense preventive measure can go a long way to helping you rest a bit easier knowing you are well protected. Do we really own the land or does the land own us in the end? Good stewardship and the precious opportunity to share our properties with friends, family and that kid who has never been fishing are some of the great privileges and obligations we have as landowners. Don’t let misplaced fear of liability slow you down.