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Brown: Time to start recognizing how essential the outdoors really are

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The great outdoors may be turning into the sometimes great outdoors more each day.

Seeing less allocated to it and what is budgeted many times robbed from makes me cringe. It's an easy target in the budget because those in charge many times do not see it as "essential," and a "no one will notice" approach takes the front seat.

It sure seemed essential when COVID-19 hit — going outdoors was the only thing folks had to do to keep their sanity. Supply was outdistanced by demand and the hunting and fishing arenas flourished.

No place gets more mistreated than outdoor interests when it comes for fiscal obligations and responsibility. We spend money on more buildings when many are vacant, and we build another one with hope it will fill up. Our decision-makers need to hear loud and clear that is unacceptable.

I'm glad we have people who put their hat in the political ring, but it begs a simple question or two regarding why. If being a representative of the people is such a thankless job, why do people clamor to do it? Am I missing something?

What does that have to do with hunting and fishing, you might ask? Cutting through the chaff to get to the wheat is everyone’s responsibility. Finding out what is important to every decision-maker is a first step.

Make your desires heard to those representatives. Our special interest is large in scope. We have the numbers, but we're quiet in accomplishment. Outdoors needs representation and we no doubt we need better organization.

Get to know those who are running for office. I read a lot and look at everyone who runs for office both at the local and national level for tips or line items on votes to see if they see the outdoors as important. I know which ones do and which ones who could give a hoot if we have parks and lakes or not. I vote accordingly.

Taking the time to ask the right questions and being involved diplomatically isn’t easy, but we owe it to our kids and their kids to be involved.

Hunting and fishing are as much a part of America as the flag, hot dogs and apple pie. Though silent most of the time, the movement for fair and just is gaining steam. I hear it and I see it. Folks are fed up and are getting involved at both the local and national levels.

It's much more than fish stocking or building a pavilion, although that is a start. It is making a difference. I tell folks all the time if we each do a little it will turn into a big thing when combined. Too many of us don’t get involved and we live in our small microcosm “hoping” something will change and things will get better without any sweat equity.

We owe our effort to everyone that loves the outdoors. We are at a crossroads as a country, and that's reflected in the outdoor industry. Involvement and setting a plan, talking to others with like interests and getting organized is step one.

One voice is important but hundreds are stronger. Unified voices can accomplish something and it’s time for outdoors folks to find a way to take our numbers and have a voice. That is hunters, campers, fishermen, tree huggers and bird watchers alike. Instead of only looking at our own little world we need to expand that to all of the outdoors.

Although several horses are already out of the barn, we still have time to make sure we aren’t left out in the cold. If you are not part of a group, join one. If you are, look for ways to make a difference — being silent is no longer an option.

"Plan, strategize and organize" should be our mantra. If not, be prepared for the outcome. It won’t be pretty.

Poppe on a roll

Local angler Jared Poppe has been on quite a roll. Two weeks ago he won the Land of Lincoln PVA Tournament at Lake of Egypt with 8.16 pounds and this past weekend he and his fishing partner Mitchell Ward won the BNBC Saturday Classic at Springfield and Prairie Lake combined with 12.09 pounds.


Terry Brown tighter crop

Terry Brown

Terry Brown is President of Wired2Fish.com, an industry leading, daily website and social media fishing centered community that provides information on products, industry newsmakers and fishing techniques. You can read more by going to www.Wired2Fish.com.

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