From Lee's Desk, July 2016

As recent generations have moved from farm to city to suburb, finding the time and a place to hunt has become increasingly difficult. Nationally the number of hunters has been on the decline for years. If the trend continues the North American Hunter will go the same way as the Carolina Parakeet, once prevalent in North America. This raises an important question - who have you taught to hunt?

I met a very interesting gentleman at a wedding earlier this month. The grandfather of the groom, he was what we refer to as self-made, very successful and now in his 70s, he is enjoying the fruit of his life’s labor. When he learned I was a hunter he told me how he had hunted all kinds of game and was looking for a new challenge when he discovered Alaska. His stories of harvesting caribou, Dall sheep, two brown bears and other animals I have only seen in pictures or on the ground floor of Cabela’s was fascinating. He mentioned several times how parts of the country were so harsh yet all so beautiful.

While I enjoyed hearing the stories, his stock really went up when I learned how he’d shared his passion with his daughters’ husbands and his grandchildren by taking them out and teaching them to hunt. For many of us, the days we get out alone or with our buddies to hunt are now so precious it’s hard to consider sharing that time with someone new and focus on helping him or her to learn about our hunting tradition. But he felt so strongly about sharing his knowledge and the ways of the outdoors he dedicated his time to take them with so they could have the same experiences and memories that last a lifetime.

The volunteer members of the Missouri Hunting Heritage Federation find the time to help young people of families who no longer have someone to share this knowledge and for that I offer my admiration. We are seeking others to join us.

In the past century, hunters played a critical role in bringing the Whitetail Deer and Eastern Wild Turkey back from a few hundred to abundant numbers. Today we play a critical role in bringing back the North American Hunter.