I am proud to say that this is my 32th New Year’s column for this paper. I want to thank you for reading my articles and all the kind responses. I love writing this column because my readers are knowledgeable outdoor youth, men and women.
The year 2019 will be filled with interesting challenges. I would love to see all of our men and women come home from war to enjoy the outdoors with their family and nature’s changing seasons. I wish they were here now and pray they will be soon. After all, they have fish to catch, deer to scout and waterfowl to hunt.
NEW YEAR’S RESOLUTIONS: Each calendar change brings on a series of New Year’s resolutions that few people keep. Probably weight loss is the most common and one I need to make – I think I have said that the last 10 years.
Here are several resolution suggestions for 2019, ideas that must be kept. After all, you are the current stewards of our outdoors. The very future of conservation efforts will depend on what happens during your watch. We are enjoying the good old days of outdoor activities. After we are gone, let’s hope future generations can say the same.
INTRODUCE A KID TO THE OUTDOORS: I place this as my priority. Those that read my column know how strongly I feel about this and so should you. Youth are the future for the environment and wildlife. Everything will soon hinge on your children and grandchildren when my generation is gone.
Remember patience when introducing your child to outdoor activities. What you did as a child does not matter. Everything is about what they want to do. A big key is not boring your child. Listen and leave when they are ready to go, no matter how good the ducks are flying or fish are biting.
Take your child bird watching if that is their desire. Adults must sometimes be reminded that this is not about their wishes; this is about the children and what they like to do.
SUPPORT YOUR CONSERVATION DEPARTMENT: The Missouri Department of Conservation is envied by America’s wildlife community. Their conservation tax provides money that allows purchasing more public areas and the up keep on each plot. They employ more individuals to take care of the outdoor activities you enjoy. Kansas Wildlife and Parks has their own funding, too, and they do a good job.
Our outdoor community supports itself in conservation dollars and generous contributions to organizations like Ducks Unlimited, Quail Unlimited, Delta Waterfowl, The Quality Deer Management Association and other groups that make our very outdoor existence possible. I urge you to continue contributing to these important organizations, even if your contributions are less than in past years. Certainly, every little bit helps.
Tax dollars in this country are being squeezed like never before in most of our lifetimes. You, as voters, must continue your support to the Missouri Conservation Tax and national taxes like Pittman-Robinson and others. Many would love to take some or all of these funds. You, the voting public, make it possible to keep these funds in the right hands to make conservation possible.
GUN CONTROL: Gun Control is another issue that will not go away and we need to pay close attention in 2019. Listen to the news or read periodicals and you will find stories about crimes committed with firearms. Sensationalism, after all, sells copy. You will never read about a junior skeet shooting champion or a young hunter who successfully took his first buck in the mainstream news.
Yes, there are ruthless, sickening crimes committed with firearms and I pray to God that will someday be stopped. But there are more gun owners who use firearms for what they were intended than punks who commit crimes.
Contributions to the National Rifle Association should be continued. Agree with them or not, they are the champions of hunters, target shooters, collectors or anyone who owns a gun for home protection.
Let’s just hope that Washington will take time to understand the difference between a Model 1100 semi-automatic Remington and a fully automatic weapon. I understand that they lump the classic hunting and target shooting shotguns and rifles in the same category as AK-47s. Let’s hope they learn the difference.
DONATE WILD MEAT YOU ARE NOT GOING TO USE: The Missouri Department of Conservation has a successful program called, “Share the Harvest.” Thousands of pounds of venison have been donated to homeless shelters through this organization.
Recently I heard of a priest at a homeless shelter receiving ducks from a group of hunters. That night, many homeless folks had roast duck for dinner, a treat most savored. I am not saying to shoot large numbers of wildlife to feed the poor, just the amount over what your family will enjoy.
BE KIND TO ONE ANOTHER: Make 2019 the time to show kindness to complete strangers. Karma is for real! Happy New Year!
Kenneth Kieser, a veteran outdoors writer and member of the Waterfowlers Hall of Fame and National Fresh Water Fishing Hall of Fame, writes a weekly outdoors column for The Examiner. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.