I hit one of my favorite outdoor retail stores earlier this week – Kittery Trading Post in Kittery, ME. This fine Southern Maine retailer has been serving the needs of New England’s outdoor sports enthusiasts for over 75 years and they’re still going strong today.
Kittery Trading Post, otherwise known as KTP, has something for everyone. When I say they’ve got it all, they’ve got it all. Hunting gear, guns, ammo, reloading supplies, archery gear and accessories, camping gear, casual clothing, shoes & boots, skis and winter weather apparel, fishing gear, and the list goes on. KTP has a department to serve anything you’re looking to do outdoors and these guys definitely have it all.
I can spend hours poking around KTP, and on this particular day I did just that. I enjoyed checking out the latest bows from the many manufacturers that KTP carries. Always appreciated by this lefty archer is that there are several different left-handed bows always in stock at KTP. I perused the gun inventory, both new and used, and fantasized about the autoloading shotgun that I will someday acquire. I spent a good amount of time in the fishing section checking out all the newest fly fishing gear and I also looked at their vast array of knives, turkey calls, tree stands and ammunition.
Any visit to KTP is a success as it stimulates the senses with many thoughts of outdoor adventure. On this particular day I’m proud to say that I kept my expense in check and I only purchased four items: A Quaker Boy box turkey call, a pack of Thingamamobber strike indicators, a Simms wader bag and a Silva Huntsman compass.
If you are ever driving through Southern Maine, a visit to KTP is a definite must-stop destination. Enjoy!
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:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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!
I see them every single day. Their location is strategic; they’re intentionally placed in a closet where I am sure to encounter them with regularity. They are inanimate objects, but despite having no voice they call my name every time I see them. They are like a dog with a ball in its mouth, staring at you and begging to go outside!
Item #1 – My running shoes. I am a runner. I need to run; my body and mind is dependent upon it. Six days a week I rise at the crack of dawn, throw on the running shoes and head out the door. Running is therapeutic for me; it helps me sort out my thoughts, plan my day and get my endorphins going. There is simply no better way to begin a day than with a run.
Item #2 – My bow. Hanging in the closet right above my running shoes is my compound bow, quiver and arrows. Typically I grab my bow immediately after my run and I get in a short archery practice. Shooting after running is ideal for me. My heart rate is up after the run, so practicing at that time helps simulate hunting conditions by forcing me to focus on a good shot while controlling my breathing. Archery also serves to clear my head. While running there’s a lot of thinking going on and my mind wanders on a number of different subjects. Archery, on the other hand… it causes me to block out all of that and focus my attention on my shot sequence and the task at hand. When I shoot my bow, there is only one thought…FOCUS. Even when I only have time to shoot 10 arrows it’s important for me to do it.
Item #3 – My fly rod. Leaning right inside the corner of the same closet is my fly rod stored in its case. This is my newest outdoor item; I purchased it last fall to begin a renewed pursuit of fly fishing after a 20 year hiatus. Last year I had some late season success while catching some panfish and largemouths on a couple of small lakes and ponds. I enjoy practicing my casts in the back yard and I hope to allocate time this spring to pursuing trout in local rivers.
Every day I encounter these items and it helps me maintain my connection to the outdoors. Even when I can’t use them, I just like seeing them. It’s similar to the guy who keeps a classic car in his garage…when it can’t be driven there is still pleasure in just looking at it. Seeing these items each and every day reminds me that outdoor adventure always awaits.
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…