For me it has been a great start to the year as far as soft water angling goes, and from what I’m hearing from others, the same applies.
The years pass and the clock stops for no one. It seems memories pile up faster than they should, but there is nothing we can do except work with Father Time.
Now that my children are grown up and pretty much on their own, I sit and reflect a lot. I think about how things were back then and how they are today. Like everything else, modern technology has changed the way we live tenfold, however, some things remain the same.
The sun still rises and sets, and the growth and reproductive procedures of everything wild go through their cycles no matter what a computer says.
I was the age of five when my outdoor heritage was introduced to me with an inaugural fishing trip up Highway 599 north of Ignace, Ont. to English River. I clearly remember sitting between my grandfather and my dad listening to Herb Alpert and the Tijuana Brass on the radio in my grandfather’s new 1967 red Mercury pickup truck.
This was the beginning of something that would become part of my life forever. Little did I know how important hunting, angling and the outdoors would become to me, and how it would define who I was in years to come.
At seven years old I was exposed to the killing of an animal for the first time. Although it was small game, it still had a profound effect on me, as I was holding this dead, lifeless poor rabbit my grandfather had just shot. As a young boy, I was feeling remorse for this creature, that, moments earlier had been hopping around the woods minding his own business.
Being too young to understand the concept of hunting as a management tool, understanding man’s natural instinct and understanding sustenance gathering, I just went with the flow and accepted the fact that this is what we were supposed to do.
Was showing remorse for this dead animal normal, or was it a weakness that hunters were not supposed to feel?
Or was I simply too young and my thoughts were still amongst Saturday morning cartoons?
I can tell you that after more than 40 years of hunting, angling, guiding, conserving and preserving, I still feel that little bit of remorse for any animal that I harvest; and as far as I am concerned it’s perfectly normal.
The hundreds of animals that have succumbed to my shot shell, arrow, or bullet have instilled a huge amount of spirituality into my thoughts and emotions.
The spirit of the wild is in all of us who hunt, trap and fish in some form or another.
I believe that spirituality is the foundation and drive of who we are as hunters and gatherers, inherited from generations past whose life was dependant on such, long before modern technology swayed us into a world of preservatives, high speed internet, and mass produced domesticated livestock and fowl.
Spirituality is individual and takes many forms. It can be defined very differently to many in the outdoor fraternity. It’s up to you as a steward of the land, and a descendant of ancestral traditions and beliefs to define what your own spiritual connection is when in the wilds.
For me personally, my connectedness with the outdoors is strong, especially when alone in my tree stand for hours. This is a time when I get to take in the sights, sounds and smells.
I pay attention to the smallest things that I would otherwise pass by in a world of fast paced technology and drive-thrus.
Watching the sun rise or set and really paying attention to it. Watching the wild world go about its daily routine completely in tune with every bit of its instinct to survive and reproduce, yet at a pace that most of the human race could only hope for. Slow and steady.
Some folks look at me as this hardcore hunter and angler, however, I take my time in the woods and on my boat as a privilege, not a right, and I surely do not abuse that privilege or ruin it for anyone else.
If I am afforded the opportunity to harvest a moose or a deer or land a nice fish, my gratitude comes forth long before anything else.
We truly do live in a great place and we should never take it for granted. We have four distinct seasons here in Thunder Bay, which offers a truck load of activity to do outdoors.
Get out there and enjoy it!
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