To start each New Year, many make resolutions to improve on some area of their
personal life. Many promise to lose a few pounds, exercise more, save more, volunteer to assist some cause and the list goes on. Unfortunately these “pledges to ourselves” are many times broken and forgotten by the time January gives way to February.
Then there are the things we hope will change for the better. Oftentimes these are
issues that gnaw relentlessly causing constant anxiety. Every parent has experienced this with most of the concern centered around a child.
Financial matters also top the list, especially for those whose home, business or places of employment were impact by some recent calamity. Many are still reeling from the ravages of Hurricane Harvey.
Health issues, dealing with changes brought about by age, uncertainty of things
beyond our control what we obsess and worry. It is just a part of our emotional and
mental make up.
However, with the arrival of the New Year most regroup, say a whole bunch of prayers and hope this year will be better than the last. At the very least we look forward to signs that improvement is starting to surface.
Those of us that enjoy the outdoors fixate on issues dealing with the activities we
enjoy. This partly stems from a healthy concern for our wild resources, but also as a diversion from those personal issues. It is a mindset of “don’t mess with my sanctuary.”
Each year every coastal angler hopes Old Man Winter is kind and no major fish kill
occurs from frigid weather. Milder conditions also present an opportunity to put on
another layer of clothes and venture out for a day to fish or just explore salty places.
Freshwater anglers know their favorite gamefish are fairly safe and insulated from
cold temperatures. In fact some species like smallmouth bass, walleye and rainbow trout actually thrive in colder water temperatures.
Hunters have similar hope for a mild start to the New Year but for different reasons.
Cold, wet weather can adversely impact wildlife, particularly whitetail and mule deer bucks already stressed by the rigors of the rut.
Many of those same big game hunters may obsess with concern over a huge mature trophy buck that disappeared before a shot could be taken. Maybe it was a massive antler monarch that was just reaching his prime, but when the season opened was spotted with a good portion of his rack missing from fighting with another. Did he make it? Did any other hunter that saw him, also let him walk in hopes another opportunity in the
fall will present itself when the buck’s headgear is intact.
Upland bird hunters become concerned about the impact hunting and weather will
play on quail populations that have been on the rebound. It has been so long since
populations were this strong that worrisome thoughts fill the head — will enough birds survive to continue to repopulate the available habitat.
It doesn’t seem to matter whether it is a personal issues, about loved ones, or concerns about our beloved outdoors, we just worry — then hope for the best. All we can really do is to continue to address those problems we may have some control over. If that is done, then seek divine intervention is why prayers are prayed incessantly.
With an optimistic outlook it is time to enjoy a sunrise or sunset on a crisp winter
day. It will provide the connection with something so much bigger than any one of us and is what provides us with renewed hope.
Until next month: Pursue all of your outdoor activities in a safe and ethical manner.