Making a Good Name for Outdoorsmen this Holiday Season
Let us first extend our warmest holiday wishes to all who are reading this, regardless of which holiday you are celebrating. This is a fantastic time of year for everyone, and we wish you nothing but blessings this holiday season and moving forward into 2019. With that being said, I think it's important that we discuss the holidays with the outdoors in mind. It just wouldn't be right if we didn't put an outdoor spin on it!
If you're a passionate outdoorsman or woman, there is a great chance that everyone in your family knows it. Aunts, uncles, cousins, in-laws and everyone in between. Outdoor sports are very much rooted in family tradition, and that makes growing up in a hunting, fishing, or shooting family a lot of fun. Holidays serve as a great time to convene and discuss the entire year of outdoor adventures. However, not all families are so accepting of our outdoor passions.
A lot of you reading this may be the lone hunter in a family that stands firmly against the sport. Maybe you're a proud gun owner and the in-laws are firmly against the Second Amendment. We certainly feel for those of you in situations like that. It's not easy to be a proud outdoorsman or woman in a crowd of naysayers, but the holidays are a great time to take a stand for outdoorsmen and women everywhere. Seriously.
You may be the only hunter that Aunt Bethany has any contact with whatsoever. When she thinks of the sport and all that is involved, you are the first thing that comes to mind. With that in mind, I think it's incredibly important that we represent the outdoors with pride and respect at all times. This definitely goes far beyond the holiday season, but it's even more important right now.
You may not be able to get Aunt Bethany on board enough to suit up in some Realtree but you can always make a good name for yourself and the sport. And you truly never know when you may be able to pass your outdoor passion on to the next generation, which is probably the most important issue in hunting and the outdoors today. Old Aunt Bethany may be a lost cause but introducing a younger cousin or family member to the outdoors certainly is not.
People get excited about the outdoors when they hear an experienced hunter or fisherman talking enthusiastically. Painting that vivid picture from memories made in the field or on the water. Believe me, I can speak from experience.
I grew up with a slight interest in shooting and the outdoors but my passion was always directed toward football and baseball. It wasn't until I was about 15 that I finally took the plunge and got my hunter's education certification. If it weren't for my cousin and some other family members consistently putting out a good word for the sport of deer hunting, I probably would not have taken up the sport. I can assure you that I would not have taken up the sport with such love and passion.
It may seem like a lost cause to even discuss your outdoor passions at the holiday table filled with non-hunters and maybe even naysayers, but you never know how you can change someone's outlook.
I think it is also important that we try our best to refrain from negative comments as we go about this. I see way too many people taking a rude and disrespectful stance when defending their position, and it happens on both sides of the debate. Whether we're talking about the hunting or gun debate, we have all seen things get carried away. I am sure it even happens at the table for Christmas dinner. Don't be that guy or girl.
Debate is a great thing, but sensible debate is all that we should engage in. If your anti-gun cousin wants to take things too far, just walk away. Outdoorsmen and women should always strive for the high ground, because we know in our hearts that our outdoor passions are whole and right. We certainly don't have to justify what we do with other people, but you can probably see what I am getting at. There is a definite line between standing up for your way of life and engaging in ugly behavior.
It has been my experience that you can win over many more people with sensible debate and conversation rather than ranting and arguing. Especially during a period when we are supposed to be focused on family and faith.
Always carry yourself with class and respect for the opinions of other people. You can still be proud of the outdoor lifestyle.
I like to live by the principle of showing rather than telling. Show your friends and family how a good hunter provides clean and healthy protein by serving up some great venison. Fry up some of that fish that you have in the freezer. Take a family member to the range and show them how to safely enjoy some trigger time.
This is a great time of year to pay it forward and introduce someone to your outdoor passions.
We should do our best to make a good name for outdoorsmen and women while recruiting whoever we can to this way of life. Again, it's a crucial topic in the outdoors today. Our numbers are not what they should be, and our beloved outdoor sports will only weaken if the trend continues. We need to win as many people over as we possibly can.
You may be surprised how effective it could be if that recruiting effort begins at holiday dinner tables across the country.