A couple weeks ago, I spent a week with three friends hutning deer in the Hoover Wilderness. Although my initial efforts were focused on bringing home a bragging buck, the mountain quickly humbled my attitude and in the end, my trophy buck was only a young three-point. It was still a trophy to me.
The altitude, the steep slopes and my no-longer-young body forced me to accept reality. However, during many of the rest stops required to make it to the top of the mountain, I was continually invigorated by the spectacular landscape surrounding me.
Many times I thought about the experience, available to most, but utilized by few, and how much people miss by not entering the outdoors. Hunting and fishing is a physical and spiritual experience that feeds my spirit and lifts me to be a more fulfilled, more fit and more spiritual individual.
However, in California today, the entire hunting and fishing culture is on the verge of collapse. The end of hunting and fishing won’t be by decree, ballot measure or lack of resource, it will just sneak up on us like global warming.
However, there is a great need for the outdoor experience and it has never been more important than today. Urban and inter-city youth need the outdoors. It’s a match like kids and dogs. A partnership between youth leaders in urban areas and those who manage California’s outdoor resources could produce a pipeline to transport a new generation of outdoorsmen and women to outdoor classrooms around the state.
This has been done before by many groups on small scale. It’s time to gear up. Without hunters and fishermen, California’s outdoor resources will become underutilized and underfunded. Without the outdoors, our youth will be denied the opportunity to be the best they can be.