Thoughts on hunting and fishing licenses

Today I got off my rear end and purchased my 2015 hunting and fishing licenses.  Typically I buy them in early January but I’ve been behind this year and just finally got to it.  I always enjoy buying my licenses; the primary reasons are as follows:

  1. The excitement and anticipation of the adventures that lie ahead.  A hunting and fishing license is the equivalent of a passport to adventure.  The licenses are purchased at a time when I’m not typically engaged in any fishing or hunting pursuits, yet having them in my possession gets me thinking about it.  I see the license and the harvest tags, and I begin pondering questions with unknown answers.  How many times will I get out to hunt and fish?  Where will I go?  What will the weather be like?  How many fish will I catch this year?  Will I get to fill out that turkey tag or finally tag a deer this year…or am I destined to eat “tag soup”?  Who will I share these experiences with?  The questions go on and on.
  2. I take pride in generating revenue for habitat, conservation and wildlife preservation.  Every dollar that I spend on hunting and fishing licenses goes directly to a State agency that invests those dollars right where I want them to go.  Unlike taxes, these funds do not go into a governmental abyss where they are subject to misuse and waste, and for that I am grateful.  In order to maximize the dollars I contribute to these conservation efforts, I buy every license that is available for purchase whether I intend to use it or not.  This year, as I do every year, I purchased the following licenses: freshwater fishing, saltwater fishing, basic hunting license, turkey permit, bear permit, waterfowl permit, archery permit, primitive firearms permit and a whitetail doe permit.  All of that totals up to almost 90 bucks and it’s money very well spent.
  3. License purchases register me among a minority of United States citizens who take to the field and engage in hunting and fishing activity.  According to survey data produced by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the percentage of the U.S. population participating in hunting and fishing continues to decline.  The most recent comparison data reveals that in 1991, 40 million Americans were recorded as active sportspersons who participated in hunting and/or fishing activity.  Twenty years later in 2011, the number declined by 2.6 million people to 37.4 million.  Upon initial examination those numbers might not seem alarming, especially if you do the math and say “it’s only a 6.5% decline over a two decades.”  In order to put those numbers into better perspective, one must consider the population growth that the country has seen during that same time period.  In 1991 the U.S. population was 253 million; in 2011 it had expanded by 23% to 312 million.  What’s troubling is this: in the early 90’s 16% of the U.S. population was hunting and fishing.  Twenty years later that number has declined to 12%.  Today, if you put 100 people in a room, on average only 12 of them are likely to hunt or fish.  Needless to say, that’s an alarming fact and perhaps a subject for another post.

For these reasons, as well as many others, I love having hunting and fishing licenses in my pocket.  I’ve made a financial contribution to conservation, I have a permission slip for future adventures, and I register myself in the small segment of our population who seeks the challenge, enjoyment and solitude that can only be experienced in the great outdoors.  If you haven’t purchased your licenses yet this year, please join me and go get ’em!

There are many like it, but this one is mine

“There are many like it, but this one is mine” is an excerpt from the Marine Corps Rifleman’s Creed that all enlisted Marines learn during recruit training.  The Rifleman’s Creed has serious meaning that goes far beyond the analogy I’m about to use; I certainly must acknowledge that before moving on.

So what I am I applying this phrase to?  My bow, of course!  Options for today’s archers have never been better.  There are hundreds of different bows out there that people can choose from.  It’s fantastic to have such a diverse selection, but at the same time it can be overwhelming.  Unless you are one of those people who get a new bow every year (I envy you folks!), when you choose a bow you’re making a long term investment.  Bows aren’t cheap so you want to take your time and make sure you get the one that fits you best.

My current bow was purchased in 2012.  I spent a considerable amount of time doing research before making my decision, and the process was a lot of fun.  Despite being right handed, I have a dominant left eye and thus I shoot left handed.  It’s not a big deal to shoot left handed, however finding lefty bows in stock to test shoot proved to be a challenge.  As a result, I put on many miles traveling around to archery shops to find a sufficient number of lefty bows that I could evaluate and shoot.  The process of figuring out what I wanted took a little over two months to complete and I really enjoyed it.

What was I looking for?  My top priority was the feel of the bow.  I wanted a comfortable draw cycle that was smooth, not jumpy.  I wanted a bow with a solid back wall so I could confidently hold at full draw for extended time periods in a hunting situation.  I wanted it to be quiet and I wanted it to have minimal vibration after releasing the arrow.  I wanted a comfortable anchor point and I discovered that the biggest variable in this area was a bow’s axle-to-axle length.  In terms of my personal preference, I found that short axle-to-axle length bows (30 inches or less) created a tighter sting angle at full draw and that did not provide me with a comfortable anchor position.

What did I end up with?  After an exhaustive search I found a handful of bows that I didn’t like at all, many bows that felt good, and one that jumped out as my clear favorite.  My bow is a 2012 Hoyt Vector 32; it is set at a 60 lbs with a draw length of 29″.  I really love this bow and after thousands of shots I enjoy shooting it now as much as the day I got it.  If you’re curious to see a professional opinion on the Vector 32 you can check out a review from Petersen’s Bowhunting Magazine by clicking here.

Despite the enormous temptation to go try out and perhaps buy one of the latest and greatest new bows on the market, I know that my Vector 32 will serve me quite well for many years to come.  I’ve attached a photo below.  This is my bow, there are many like it but this one is mine!

Hoyt Vector 32 w viscosity strings

Welcome to Outdoor Avidity

So now I’m a blogger?  Yeah, right!  If that title suggests that what you’ll see here is a competent author, don’t count on it.  I can assure you that you’ve come to the wrong place if you’re looking to be blown away here with outstanding writing.  But what I can promise is that you’ll see plenty of passion.  I love the outdoors and outdoor activities.  My challenge is that I have a limited amount of time to pursue them.  Thus the idea for this blog…if I can’t be actively enjoying the great outdoors, then I feel that writing about it is a great way to stay connected to it.

So that’s it.  There’s my first blog post.  I warned you not to get too excited…