As the coronavirus pandemic still lingers, folks have come out from their homes to join the nauseating and never-ending conversation about how so many things have changed. Everything is digital now (including this magazine), and any sort of “important national conversation” is hosted on social media platforms. Oh, and good luck trying to buy a pickup truck or a box of .22 shells. The world, they say, will never be the same. Cool. We get it.
Let’s, for a moment, consider some things that have not changed. Or at least not substantially. I’m talking about our traditions of hunting and fishing, of course. B.S., you might argue. Kids these days care only about video games and social media. Modern technology has ruined the spirit of hunting as we knew it. The good old days are long gone.
And there might be threads of truth to your tired argument—but fragile ones. Look a little deeper and you’ll see a thriving hunting and fishing culture that’s not all that different from the obscure and undefinable “good old days.”
Young kids from all around the country are growing into expert bass anglers. Then there are the diehard bowhunters like Beka Garris who represent a self-reliant lifestyle and keep the traditional spirit of hunting alive. Even the constantly attacked and often misunderstood tradition of trapping is on the brink of a revival—despite anti-trapping laws and low fur prices.
When you get down to it, our hunting tradition is made up of genuine people who love being outdoors, harvesting their own food or pelts, and sharing their stories. This is how it’s always been, and this is how it still is today—even if the methods, tech, and aesthetics have all changed. So hang on tight to our hunting and fishing traditions. Not for nostalgia over the way things used to be, but to remember who we used to be—and who we still are.
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